Indian Railways To Initiate Airport-Like Contactless QR Code-Enabled Tickets

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Keeping in view the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Indian Railways is planning to adopt the facility of contactless ticketing – similar to facilities at airports with QR code-enabled tickets.

According to a report by PTI, a senior railway official has said that the QR code-enabled tickets will be scanned on handheld devices and mobile phones at railway stations and on trains. Last month, an automatic QR code-based ticket scanning system was introduced by the Indian Railways at the Prayagraj junction railway station, in a first-of-its-kind initiative. The contactless ticketing system is believed to help passengers as well as railway staff to prevent the spread of the virus.

Passengers purchasing a ticket will receive an SMS containing the QR code which ticket checking officials can scan using handheld equipment. Even platform tickets can be bought via digital modes and 85% of the tickets are being booked through electronic platforms.

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Wholeheartedly embracing the Digital India theme, Indian Railways said it has taken a host of measures to ensure complete digitisation of its operations. Railway Board Chairman VK Yadav stated that the IRCTC ticket booking website is being redesigned and will be rolled out in August.

“Passengers will have much better experience when the new portal is launched,” he said.

“It is not possible to shift completely to a paper-less ticketing across stations right now as there are still some passengers who do not use smartphones,” he added.

He also stated that the railways has digitised all its assets for better monitoring. It has also established a geo-portal and developed applications for all its fixed assets such as tracks, signalling, OHE and other electrical assets, which have been mapped, the Railway Board chairman added.

The land plans of the national transporter have been authenticated, digitised and geo-referenced, Yadav said, adding that the railways has introduced digital initiatives in its freight and train operations.

That’s not all. VK Yadav also said that the railways has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for satellite-tracking of trains. This captures real-time data relating to the speed and location of the trains, provides real-time communication to passengers about arrival and departures and analytics for improved operation, he added.

In the first phase, GPS devices have been fitted on 2,700 electric locomotives and 3,800 functional diesel locomotives. In the second phase, an additional 6,000 locomotives will be integrated by December 2021, the Railway Board chairman said.

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