IRCTC is one of the biggest eCommerce websites in India but it had a feature missing. With annual budget less than a month away, Railway Ministry has come up with Cash on Delivery for train tickets. While other OTAs were providing tickets on delivery long before this there was no option for COD and the amount had to be paid online.
IRCTC has partnered with a Noida based firm Anduril Technologies to implement this. People can book the tickets by logging on to BookMyTrain.com or by downloading the app. IRCTC is looking to target the middle-class section which is still apprehensive about transacting online and using their credit/debit cards. At present the site is in BETA stage. The UI of the website has a lot of scope for improvement. As soon as one visits the site there will a pop up asking the user to login/signup and unless one signs up one cannot browse through the site.
Initially, the service is set to launch in around 200 cities and the prices for the ticket at set at INR 40 for a sleeper class ticket and INR 60 for AC Class ticket. A ticket can be booked 5 days prior to the journey.
Providing COD comes up with its own sets of challenges, especially logistical challenges. And unlike e-commerce tickets have a lifetime only up till the commencement of journey and if not delivered within time it may lead to more complexities. Or if the owner returns the ticket at the last moment which will again lead to more complexities in the system.
Anduril Technologies was started by two graduates Pooja Chauhan and Anurag Bajpai and was incubated at Amity Innovation Incubator at Amity Business School. With the launch of this initiative IRCTC aims to reduce the number of tickets booked on the website. At peak times up to 10,000 tickets are booked every minute on the website, and over 200,000 agents book through the website. In 2013 alone around 140.6 million e-tickets were booked through IRCTC which were nearly half of the total tickets booked by Indian railways.