A challenging task to facilitate the ticketing needs of Unreserved journey passengers (Twenty one million approx. daily) on Indian Railways network.
The one stop objective of UTS system is to exploit the latest technologies and alleviate the plight of common man who stands in long queues for ticket bookings.
The unreserved ticketing system began as a pilot project in August 2002 on Northern Railway. A precursor to this centralized ticketing system was the Self Printing Ticket Machines (SPTMs), a standalone system that was phased out with the arrival of UTS. Initially, the central hardware architecture was supported with station level servers to ensure business continuity in the event of network failures. The booking office operator dispensed the tickets using dumb terminals and dot matrix printers. Over the years with improved reliability of the network, a newer design came into force with the introduction of thin clients provided to the operator. The Zonal Railways are responsible for manning the UTS counters and running the services, while CRIS maintains the application and ensures continuity of business at the system level. There are nearly 100 ticket types that are sold through the system based on class of travel, concessions for senior citizens and children, concessions to other categories, and season tickets. The business rules and fares are determined by the policies of the Ministry of Railways.
UTS on Mobile Project has been launched with paperless ticket option on 22nd April 2015 for Android and Windows smart phones. App for iOS smart phones has also been launched on 8th Feb.2018 . The App named as "UTS" can be downloaded from Google Play Store, Windows Phone Store and Apple App Store. A website named www.utsonmobile.indianrail.gov.in is available for passengers for registration and creation/recharge of R-wallet. Payments can be done through credit/debit card and Netbanking. Various e-wallets like Paytm, Mobikwik and Freecharge have been integrated with the App. Both paperless as well as paper ticket can be booked. To prevent booking of ticket in Railway premises, the Railway tracks and stipulated surrounding area are Geo-Fenced. This preventive measure is one of its kind for ticketing in India to prevent booking of tickets on seeing TTE/TC at platform or in train. This prevents revenue leakage. Currently, the mobile application has been proliferated at Pan India level. Journey, platform and season tickets can be booked through this App. Currently, inter zonal mobile ticketing is also enabled in all zones.
To prevent standing in queues at counters and to promote self service based quick dispensing of tickets, the concept of Cash-Coin & Smart Card operated ticket vending machine (CoTVM) was evolved. These kiosks are operational across 9 Zonal Railways viz. NR, CR, WR, SR, SWR, SCR, ER, SER and SECR. The CoTVM is an unmanned kiosk which is operated by passengers themselves. It has the feature of issuing Journey tickets & Platform tickets and renewing Season tickets. It can also be used to recharge Smart cards used in ATVMs (Automatic Ticket Vending Machines). Payment is in the form of coins, bank notes and smart cards. The machine is capable of accepting specific coins of Rs.5 and Rs.10 and bank notes of Rs. 5, Rs.10, Rs.20, Rs.50 and Rs.100 of Gandhi series. The machine does not accept currency notes with Ashoka Chakra Emblem.
Ticketing services for the unreserved sector were also outsourced as per Railway Board's Jan Sadharan Ticket Booking Sewa (JTBS) scheme launched in January 2007. These outlets provide self-employment opportunities and the operators are offered a nominal commission per passenger. The terminals at these counters connect to the central servers for issuing the tickets.
Ticketing services for the unreserved sector were also outsourced as per Railway Board's Yatri Ticket Suvidha Kendra (YTSK) scheme launched in August 2014. These outlets provide self employment opportunities and the operators are offered a commission per passenger. The terminals at these counters connect to the central servers for issuing the tickets.
Apart from manned counters for dispensing tickets, there are also automatic ticket vending machines (ATVM) that are operated using smart cards and touch screens. This technology was first introduced in Mumbai in Oct 2007 and its success led to proliferation to other metropolitan cities. Chennai, Secunderabad, Delhi and Kolkata are the other cities where these machines are currently commissioned. Presently, ATVMs are operational across 14 Zonal Railways viz. NR, NCR, NWR, NER, CR, WR, WCR, SR, SWR, SCR, ER, SER, ECOR and SECR.
Customer convenience/choice for purchase of ticket through different modes of Sale, reducing booking counters at stations
Jan Sadharan Ticket Booking Sewa (JTBS) & YTSK (Yatri Ticket Suvidha Kendra) scheme. These outlets provide self-employment opportunities and the operators are offered a commission per passenger.
A scheme has been launched for outside parties/agents namely Station Booking Agents (STBA) who work over UTS counters in Railway premises and get a commission based on collections.
UTS on Mobile Project has been launched for Android, Windows and iOS phones. Payments can be done through credit/debit card and Netbanking. Various e-wallets have been integrated with the App.
The mobile application covers 9120 stations (6333 stations as source) . Appx. 2.34 lakhs tickets are booked daily, covering appx. 14.21 lakh passenger travel & generating revenue of appx. Rs 1.33 Crore