In a bid to enhance the travel experience and bring greater transparency for rail passengers, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday launched a new feature on the IRCTC website through which passengers can view reservation charts and vacant berths online.
Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, Goyal said: "It is another step to introduce transparency in the system and to add comfort to the travel experience of the passengers." He said the introduction of the new feature will end the practice of searching for a ticket collector in a moving train.
The new feature introduced in the ticketing system is "dynamic" and keep upgrading itself as the train proceeds towards its destination, making it more transparent as passengers can see the real time availability of berths, he added.
According to a Railway Ministry official, the new interface will provide a graphical representation of the train coaches and berth-wise accommodation status on the Indian Rail Catering and Tourism Corp (IRCTC) website. The new feature will look similar to that provided by airlines.
The website of the Indian Railways will display the seating layout with different colours to show the seats that are booked, vacant and partially booked. The system displays the coach layout of nine classes used in the reserved trains of the Indian Railways and more than 120 different coach layouts have been incorporated.
This feature displays class-wise and coach-wise fully vacant berth availability information as per the first chart of the train, which is prepared four hours before the train's departure. If the second chart is also prepared, then the option to view the details of vacant berths available at the time will be displayed. The second chart is prepared about 30 minutes prior to the departure of the train to accommodate information of current reservations and cancellations done after the first chart.
Both the charts will get updated for every charting location as the train heads towards its destination. In addition to this, a user will also have the facility to view the exact position of the berth allocated to a PNR in the graphical coach layout during PNR enquiry.
Girish Pillai, Member, Traffic, Railway Board said the new feature will be available for passengers travelling in Shatabdi and Rajdhani trains.