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Tech Tips, Tricks & Trivia

by 'Anil' Radhakrishna
An architect's notes, experiments, discoveries and annotated bookmarks.

Search from over a hundred HOW TO articles, Tips and Tricks

Make the most of IRCTC

Although it lacks the friendliness of world-class e-Commerce websites, IRCTC.co.in (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation), the train ticket booking website of Indian Railways is possibly the most trafficked e-Commerce website in India due to the monopoly it enjoys in online ticket reservation & the sheer volume of transactions that it processes. There is news of IRCTC offering APIs for external parties to carry out reservations from their websites.

(Update: 27-May-10) If you wish you did not have to use IRCTC at all but still book tickets online, you can consider using alternative websites  

Till the time there are more such user-friendly options, here are some tips to make the most of IRCTC -
  1. Checking for accommodation availability, status of wait-listed tickets etc is much faster on IRCTC than the official Indian Railways website that has umpteen ads & a clumsy interface.
  2. You can book tickets online up to 90 days ahead of your planned traveling date. Even if you change your plans, the cancellation charges are low when compared to the premium price you would otherwise have to pay closer to the date of travel.
  3. Note however that e-tickets can only be canceled online (if submitted before 24 hours) and the electronic refund to your bank can take more than 3 days.
  4. You can now book wait-listed e-tickets and during the reservation process opt to be considered for allotment against 50% of Tatkal quota if you feel your chances of getting a confirmed ticket are low.
  5. If you are well acquainted with the site's interface, the QuickBook option available from the left navigation menu lets you book your ticket in fewer than normal steps
  6. If you are a frequent traveller, you can maintain the names of passengers in a Master List and auto-populate these details during the reservation process.
  7. Understand the transaction charges of the bank through which you are transacting so that you can save some money. While some banks charge a flat rate of Rs.10 per transaction some banks deduct 1.65% to 1.8% of the transacted amount. If you have multiple bank accounts, choose the percentage deduction option for low value (less than Rs.500) transactions and the flat rate charge for high value transactions. Purchasing with a credit card attracts higher surcharge.
If you have any tips using the website, please leave a comment.

Also see:
Travel Planning & Reservation Tips using Online Tools


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