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Indian Railways on the track of becoming Digital Savvy

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With the modernization and implementation of Digital Marketing in Indian Railways, there have been some major evolution in Indian Railways, not only from E- Ticketing Perspective but also traveling experience and revenue generation model. Gone are those days where traveling plans used to include one additional day for going to the Railway Stations for booking rail tickets.

rail_logo_new_redAbout Indian Railways:-

It is a 150 years old Indian State Owned enterprise handled by Government of India. The first rail line was introduced from Mumbai to Thane on 16th April’1953. Being one of the biggest employer in the world, it carries more than 25 million passengers every day, which is more than the entire population of Australia. The mascot for Indian railways in Bholu, the guard elephant, unveiled in 2002.

Indian Railways Mascot-Bholu

Also, it is one of the world’s largest railway networks, with 115,000 kms of tracks, route of 65,000 kms and over 7500 stations. On 3rd Aug, 2002, internet ticketings system was launched and on 12th Aug 2005, E-Ticketing Service was introduced.

Objective of Indian Railways:-

Way back in 2001, Indian Railways (IR) was heading towards bankruptcy when there was a major turnaround was required to make it financially profitable for the Indian Government. This was coinciding with Mr. Lalu Prasad Yadav handling the IR department in 2004 where some major reformation had taken place. One of the major steps taken was the Digitalization of Indian Railways with an objective to make it a most convenient, comfortable and affordable mode of transport for every category of citizens in India.

Approach/Strategy adopted By Indian Railways for enhancing Ticketing Service:-

The strategy of bringing higher volumes from the passenger class was one of their prime focus. Therefore, there were significant progressions made by CRIS (Centre of Railway Information System) on the Online Ticketing Platform. This was to bring a more stable e-ticketing system that could manage concurrent workloads, migrate 3 million users and have a dynamic load balancing system seamlessly manage demand at peak hours. Enhancements were not only restricted to online bookings but also, widening its horizon to Mobile Apps and Social Media.

Benefits of Digitalisation in Indian Railways:-

  1. With its digitalisation, there has been a transformation in Customer Experience, right from Pre/Post Booking Enquiry, Ticket Reservation, Online Food Service on track, Wheelchair/Cab/Retiring room booking to sharing any Feedbacks and Complaints.
  2. With significant improvisation in online ticketing system from Web-based service to Mobile Apps, the result was a major shifted in Online Purchasing From 50% of Tickets Sold to 65%, Boosting Revenue Generated From E-ticket Sales to INR600 Million Daily
  3. Due to poor performance in Online Ticketing System, Indian Railways was selling about 2000 per  day, however, with improvisation and digitization in Ticketing System, it surges in sales of more than 10,000 per minute especially on the major festivals/holidays in India.
  4. Social Media (facebook, twitter) playing a pivotal role, there is a transparency system created for accessing and sharing information, press releases, Developments, Customer Feedbacks, Complaints and Refunds.
  5. With Information Technology playing as a back-bone for streamlining various departments, Indian railways is now using Integrated Coaching Management System, Crew Management System, Signalling Maintenance Management System and Track Management System.

Few of the Major Developments made after Digital Implementation in Indian Railways:

  1. Privatization of Catering in Trains allowing passengers to enjoy pre-booked food from their favorite food joints enroute.
  2. Sprucing up to Super Fast Trains have evolved with time where Rajdhanis, Durontos  but plans are setting up for semi-bullet trains and Talgos to come in near future.
  3. The operation augment services at stations to bring down the maximum time taken for buying a ticket at counters to five minutes.
  4. Real Time online reservation system and real-time Train Tracking System was launched for Web  and Mobile Platforms.
  5. With upcoming contribution in Telecommunication, Optical Fibres Cables have been laid all across the country for improved communication/multimedia network for significant improvement  in operational, passenger amenities and additional revenue to Railways.
  6. Google and Indian Railways have joined hands and came up with Project Niligiri. The project aims to set up WiFi hotspots at around 400 railway stations pan India.
  7. Mobile Apps were launched for online reservations and real-time train running status.
  8. Freight Operations Information System (FOIS)-Rake Management System (RMS) has been implemented for computerisation of freight operations by Railways.
  9. “Railnet”-The Intra Rail Networking System has been implemented for connecting Railway Board, Zonal Headquarters, Divisional headquarters, Production Units, Training Centers etc.

With digitalisation playing a very pivotal role, and the way Indian Railways has extended scalability, accessibility and performance to manage passenger demands , we are sure to reap in benefits and shall be proud to rave and utilize their services now and in future.

Having said so, there are still some major Challenges for Indian Railways to have a progressive growth rate. Some of them include high competitiveness in cost and convenience of Airlines over Railways, further involvement of Private Sectors for fast and competent goals achievement and reducing operational investments.

So what are we waiting for? Let us plan our journey and booking Rail Tickets today.

Learnings

Digitalisation of Indian Railways can be very well seen through the free public WiFi  which is being provided at Railway Stations and in trains.

Image Credits:-
Bholu Mascot-pib.nic.in
Indian Railways Logo-wikipedia

 

Head-Brand Digital Marketing Strategist & Corporate Communications at Wildnet Technologies
  • Digital-Marketing

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