One of the most important websites in India, that allows citizens to access the transport services provided by the country's iconic and hulking railway network, has got a massive upgrade!
Yes, the IRCTC (Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation) website, which is a giant in Indian e-commerce, has got an overhaul and it's not just cosmetic either!
While the current website is still in place, there's a big red flashing button on the top left corner that asks visitors to "Try New Version of Website".
Clicking on this redirects users to, lo and behold, a completely new and slick looking IRCTC!
The most prominent change that is immediately visible is that there's no login box. Instead, you just enter your travel query and ask it to Find Trains.
What arrives next is a long list of trains in cards that are simple and easy to figure.
Click on Check availability and fare for your pick and a grid drops down that has ticket status on the desired train for a number of days. It either says Available, RAC (Reservation Against Cancellation -- meaning you get to travel but, for now, you're sharing a seat), or PQWL/WL with the waitlist number. Below the Waitlist option is a button that you can click to confirm the probability of the waitlisted ticket being confirmed.
Clicking on CNF Probability asks you to login.
Once you do so, it opens up a dialog box with the probability confirmation based on what it says is the 'Last Year Confirmation Trends for Same Period', along with details. The system lists the previous year, as far as we saw, though it's said to have access to over a decade of booking history accumulated by the IRCTC.
Closing the box will still leave the chance of confirmation on the ticket card.
So that's how to use the big new feature offered by IRCTC! (There are a number of other new features as well, most of which deal with user-friendliness such that you have fewer things to type)
The Railways Minister is calling it Ease of Travel!