IRCTC Overhauls Site With AI Recommendations, Meal Booking and More: All New Features
Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation, better known as IRCTC, has announced the introduction of an all new website and interface that claims to drastically improve the overall usage experience. Announced by union railway minister Piyush Goyal earlier today, the new IRCTC website and app will include a largely similar layout to retain familiarity, but improve numerous aspects of the site and app, including selecting destination for booking tickets, viewing available trains, tickets and classes, booking additional services and more.
At the centre of its improvement will be a more stable website and app, with a larger capacity for handling peak booking time user traffic. This can be crucial to improve usage experience and improve speed of the website, especially in use cases such as Tatkal bookings. Along with the improved speed of operations, other new features will include the use of ‘AI’, which will use an individual’s usage characteristics to intelligently suggest destinations. This may also work in promoting tourism to various destinations for enthusiasts of rail travel in India.
Once destinations are selected, the new website and app interface will offer a streamlined selection of trains to a destination. Among features that have been improved include the ‘one-stop’ train selection feature, which can help users stitch together break journeys to fringe destinations. This can help make the most of the extensive Indian Railways network, and along with this, the new IRCTC site will use its predictive engine to automatically scroll saved traveller names, addresses and pre-validated identity documents, in a bid to make the booking experience smoother.
Once the booking interface opens, users can see with one click the availability of all trains, including all classes and waiting list without making any additional clicks. The revised interface will also show ticket confirmation probability without a user needing to make further clicks, thereby offering a better view of how the ticketing system under IRCTC works. Once a train and its class is selected, users will also get the option to book meals, reserve a retiring room at terminus stations, and also book hotels in destination cities, thereby improving IRCTC’s end to end travel offerings.
Unveiling the IRCTC offerings, Goyal said, “Despite the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, Indian Railways employees showed tremendous grit by ensuring the services are not disrupted. I say it with immense pride that throughout the year, no employee of Railways shied away from doing extra work and put in unflinching efforts so that the country's economy and the stakeholders of Indian Railways do not suffer.” Goyal also highlighted that IRCTC accounted for 83 percent of all train bookings online, which further affirms the impact that the new updates to the platform can have.