Railways to begin contactless ticketing via QR codes

Indian Railways will begin a contactless ticketing system with QR code enabled ticket scanning across its stations, along airport-like check in counters for passengers, according to officials aware of the development.

Passengers will get an SMS with a QR code and URL after booking their
tickets online and at the railway station the TTE will scan the displayed QR code followed by which the details of the passenger will automatically be linked across the station’s data base.

“We have introduced a QR code system which will be given on tickets. If one buys online the code will be given on the ticket, even on window tickets, and SMS will be generated and sent on the mobile phone which will have a link and it will show the QR code when the link is touched. Then the TTE at stations or on trains who either with their hand held equipment or on their mobile phones will be able to scan the code and immediately capture details of the passengers,” Railway Board chairman VK Yadav said at a press conference.

The option of QR codes will also be given to passengers buying tickets from the counter. Yadav also said nearly 85% of railway tickets were being booked online, at present.

“It is not possible to shift completely to a paper-less ticketing across stations right now as there are still some passengers who do not use smartphones,” he added.

Out of the 230 special passenger trains that are currently operating, 42 trains have an overall occupancy of 75-100% while around 40 are running at less than 30% occupancy and overall the trains are operating at an occupancy of 75%. Yadav said six trains in total have been cancelled following the request of state governments.

Railways have already begun using QR code scanning at one division at Prayagraj on a pilot basis, officials said.

“Airport-like check-in counters have also been made to minimize the exposure of our checking staff with the passengers,” an official said.

“As a passenger enters the station premises, the QR code of his /her ticket will be scanned through a mobile app and this gets updated in the software’s database. The time of scanning the QR code also gets updated in the application…there will also be integrated checking kiosks with facilities for scanning the QR code of passenger tickets and thermal screening to get body temperature,” the official said.

At Prayagraj division, onboard checking staff is also provided display modules with information on coaches and berths and total number of tickets issued.

Railways is also planning to use a dashboard to know expected passengers for boarding at any time with the aim of deploying suitable number of checking staff and enable crowd management measures. “This will help in proper crowd management at the station. This information will update in real time mode,” the official said.

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