Buoyed by a 12% surge in the number of reserved tickets being booked digitally, the Railways on Thursday said passengers can now book their tickets on an app called Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM).
Ticket buyers can use the BHIM app from Friday, said Mohd Jamshed, member (traffic) of the railway board. Before demonetisation, around 58% of reserved tickets were booked online. The number has risen to 70% since October 2016, he said.
Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), a subsidiary of the Indian Railways, handles online ticketing operations of the national carrier.
BHIM or UPI (Unified Payments Interface) promoted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi post demonetisation facilitates instant fund transfers between two bank accounts on a mobile platform. Details of the beneficiary’s bank account are not needed for this.
Indian Railways has seen a surge in digital payments since October 2016 through e-tickets, but at counters, only 2-3% transactions are cashless. “Around 3-5 crore people in the reserved (ticket) category have migrated towards digital transactions through e-ticketing. At the counters, around 30% passengers buy reserved tickets. We have installed card swiping machines for debit or credit cards,” he said.
But the Railways wanted to find a way to help passengers who did not wish to carry card or cash, but just their phones, he said. “So we are starting UPI from tomorrow. Passenger can go to the counter with their handsets and get their reserved tickets,” he said.
Reserved tickets worth around Rs80 crore are bought through e-ticketing daily while tickets worth Rs30 crore are purchased from counters at railway stations, Jamshed said.