New Delhi: Foreigners and NRIs will soon be allowed to book train tickets online for domestic travel in India from abroad using their credit or debit cards issued by respective foreign banks as the IRCTC is making necessary changes in its system to enable international transactions.
Currently, foreigners and NRIs book their tickets through tour operators or relatives here.
Our aim is to facilitate foreigners and NRIs hassle-free ticket booking facility and Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has been instructed to do the needful, said a senior Railway Ministry official.
Buddhist circuit trains, luxury services like 'Palace on Wheel', 'Maharaja' and other tourist specials are popular with foreigners and tickets are booked generally through tour operators.
Besides the luxury trains, foreigners will be able to book tickets for regular service once the required system gets operational on the IRCTC ticketing site.
He said there were some glitches which are being addressed by the IRCTC and we are expecting the foreigners will be able to book tickets directly by the month-end.
According to the IRCTC, the facility was existing earlier but it was withdrawn after a few cases of misuse of credit cards came to light.
We have incorporated certain checks and balances in our website to prevent misuse making the system a safe booking exercise for foreigners as well as for us, said a senior IRCTC official.
IRCTC, a railways PSU, has taken a series of measures to strengthen its website in the recent past including multilayered security measures against hacking. It has engaged Standardisation Ticketing and Quality Control (STQC), a website security audit expert, to check the system and they have certified that the site is safe.
IRCTC ticketing site is currently equipped to take the load of 15,000 tickets in a minute which means 250 tickets in a second. At present, about 58 per cent of total tickets sold are booked online.
IRCTC had given about Rs 18,000 crore to railways from ticket sale last year and this year it is expected to touch Rs 25,000 crore mark.