India, IRCTC, Railways, Stories

From 29 tickets booked in a day to 13 lakh tickets a day, IRCTC has come a long way


The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation or IRCTC has come a long way since its inception in 2002. From 29 tickets booked in a day to 13 lakh tickets a day, IRCTC has come a long way. Currently IRCTC system is capable of booking 15000 tickets a minute and can handle 3 lakh concurrent users.


The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation or more famously known as IRCTC has always been in the news for wrong reasons. But from 29 tickets booked on the first day in 2002 to more than 13 lakh tickets booked on a single day on 1st April 2015, IRCTC has indeed come a long way. The Ministry of Railways has released the latest data related to ticket booking in the last five years.

Number of tickets booked grows by 90% in 5 years

From 9.7 crore tickets in 2010-11, the number of tickets booked on IRCTC has grown to 18.3 crore in 2014-15, an increase of close to 90%. The number of tickets booked has grown consistently over the last 5 years. This number was 11.6 crore in 2011-12, 14.1 crore in 2012-13 and 15.8 crore in 2013-14. The average number of tickets booked per day went up from 2.66 lakh in 2010-11 to 5.01 lakh in 2014-15.


Ticket Fare revenue grows by over 150%

While number of tickets booked on IRCTC grew by 90% in 5 years, the ticket fare revenue grew by over 150% in these 5 years. From 8000 odd crores in 2010-11, the ticket fare revenue went up to 20514 crore in 2014-15. The consistent rise in the ticket fare revenue was on account of multiple fare hikes and increasing number of upper class bookings.


Internet booking overtakes Traditional Counter booking

The increased use of internet by people across the country is evident from the fact that the percentage of internet ticketing passengers overtook the percentage of counter ticketing passengers for the first time in 2014-15. From 38.54% share in total passengers in 2011-12, the internet ticketing passengers went up to 54.52% in 2014-15.  During the same period, the share of counter ticketing (PRS) passengers went down from 61.46% in 2011-12 to 45.48% in 2014-15.


NGeT – 15000 tickets per minute & 3 lakh concurrent users

The Ministry also released details of the Next Generation e-Ticketing System (NGeT). This was first launched in April 2014 to handle increased ticket booking. The capacity was increased from 2000 tickets per minute to 7200 tickets per minute. The capacity was further augmented to 15000 tickets per minute in 2015. The number of concurrent user connections was increased from 40,000 to 1,20,000, which was further increased to 3,00,000 in 2015.  The number of enquiries on the new system has also increased from 1000 per second to 3000 per second.


Multiple checks implemented to stop misuse by use of automated software

The Ministry said that they have introduced multiple checks on IRCTC website to stop misuse of Internet Ticket booking facility by the use of automated software. The checks have been introduced both at the time of registration as well as booking.

 Checks introduced at Registration

  • CAPTCHA is implemented on IRCTC website at Registration page to stop automated registrations.
  • Single email, single Registration is also implemented on website to stop multiple registrations on one Individual email-id. Verification link is sent to email-id for verification.
  • Single Mobile, single Registration is also implemented on website to stop multiple registrations on one Individual Mobile. OTP (One time password) is sent to mobile to verify Mobile.

Checks introduced at the time of Booking

  • Minimum form filling time check implemented in passenger reservation form.
  • Minimum payment time check implemented for payment process.
  • Only two Tatkal tickets can be booked for single user ID in opening Tatkal Hrs. e  between 10am and 12pm
  • Maximum 10 tickets in a month can be booked on a single user ID.
  • One user can do only one login at any point of time
  • Only one Tatkal ticket in single session (except return journey).
  • Only two opening Tatkal tickets per IP address.
  • OTP (One time password) is implemented in net banking payment options.
  • Captcha is implemented at login, Reservation Form page and Payment page

It takes a minimum of 35 seconds to book a ticket on IRCTC

The Ministry also refuted claims that entire taktal tickets are being booked in the first 30 seconds. The NGeT can handle a load of 15000 tickets in a minute, which is 250 tickets a second. According to the ministry, the minimum time required to book a ticket via IRCTC is 35 seconds.  Ticket can be booked in less than 35 seconds only at reservation counters. To prove the point, the railways put out 15 day data on the number of tickets booked through the counters and via internet between 10:00:00 to 10:00:35 and 10:00:36 to 10:01:00. From the data provided by the ministry, it is clear that not a single ticket was booked via internet in the first 35 seconds. The tickets booked in the first 35 seconds were only from the reservation counters. The data was provided both for Non-AC and AC tatkal booking.

The Ministry also said (with the help of data) that only 5 to 6 thousand tickets are booked on average in the first minute after tatkal is opened, both at counters & IRCTC put together. The Ministry claims that this is a mere 4% of over 1.5 tatkal tickets available each day.


About Author

Rakesh has been working on issues related to Right to Information (RTI) for a decade. He is a Data/Information enthusiast & passionate about Governance/Policy issues.