Oct 072012

There was a time when  you had to visit the railway station to book a ticket or go to your friendly neighborhood agent to get a booking. One had to stand in line to reach the counter for hours only to see the clerk vanishing for lunch just when your number came.
ratangarh railway station
Small Town Railway Station
Fortunately those days are over and you can book your tickets online using Indian Railways online ticket booking website. It is slow at times but still much better than going all the way to station to book tickets. So in a few clicks you can book your tickets between any two stations that are connected directly. It allows you to scan between next few days to see when are the availability and then you can book your ticket.

Payment options available are net banking, credit card, debit card etc, and the encryption is best in class. Once your ticket is booked you get an SMS and also an email confirming the status of your ticket. If you are still going to the railway station to book ticket you get a printout on a thick paper taken from a dot matrix printer. For a long time people will take printout of the ticket received in email and they will also print the may terms and conditions that go on for more than 2 page. This wasted a lot of paper and was not the most environmentally friendly thing to do.

When you boarded the train the ticket checker will check the ticket and also ask for a photo ID from  you. Once the two matched he will check his list and move forward. He was checking only 3 things

  1. PNR- A unique number assigned to every ticket by computer.
  2. Name of Passenger
  3. Photo ID proving that you are indeed the person mentioned in the ticket and not travelling in somebody else’s place.
This was done to ensure there is no black market of tickets by travel agents.
Now since the name  and PNR of the passenger is also SMSed to you there was actually no need for a physical printout. Fortunately the babus at Railway ministry realized this and today you do not have to take  a printout of the ticket. All you need to carry on the train is the SMS received from the railways, and a valid original photo ID, some of the accepted photo Ids are
1.   Driving Licence
2.   Passport
3.   Adahar Car
4.   Ration Card
5.   ID issued by a government organization like Army, Navy etc.

no need to take printouts of tickets
A Train Ticket
Thus you don’t have to worry about taking printouts and this really helps people who do not have access to computers and printers and have requested their friends or relatives to book ticket for them. The biggest advantage is that millions of papers can be saved by no printing tickets, as once the ticket checker  has seen the ticket it is of no use and is thrown away.

I wrote this post as recently when travelling by train I found not only some old people but a lot of young tech savvy IT professionals carrying printouts of their ticket. What a waste, the problem was most of them were not aware that printouts are not required. If you are carrying in group it will be a good idea to forward the SMS to one of other passengers travelling with you as in case  your battery goes down or phone is lost you will still have the SMS from railways.

So friends next time you are travelling in train travel ticket less, with only your mobile phone and SMS Mother Nature will love you for the same. I do not have data but it is believed that Indian rails carry more people any given time than population of a small European country, so  if only half of them stop taking printouts of tickets just imagine the amount of paper that will be saved. Now let us see when the airlines follow it.

Thanks for reading do like the Facebook page of Desi Traveler by clicking here and feel free to share this post with your friends so that they do not take  a printout of ticket next time, they just need to carry the cellphone with SMS from railways and a valid  original photo ID.

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  20 Responses to “How and Why to Travel without Ticket on Trains”

Comments (20)
  1. I thought you were referring to actually traveling without a ticket of any kind. For Mumbai local train travel, there is much reason to not buy a ticket as many times the inconsiderate railways only have 1 ticket window open and the line-up/queue has a good 100+ people. Who the hell has 30mins to waste to buy a ticket? Anyway, the paper-less tickets are the best thing they have done otherwise.

    • Gotcha 🙂 No seriously this SMS thing is saving millions of paper. I myself use to take even photocopies of tickets…u know just in case mentality..Feel free to like/subscribe/share desi Traveler.. Thanks

  2. This information is crisp and handy.
    New rule from this week is that all passengers travelling should carry a photo-id card

  3. Thanks for the info. Will a PAN card do?

  4. Hi Raj… I am glad you are going to be ticket-less… 🙂

  5. Wow, very nice post DT.. I'm guilty as charged – I carry printouts every time. 🙁

    Think my next train trip would be ticketless 🙂

    Thanks fr this DT 🙂

  6. Hi Roshni… our rail network is gettting better.. i wonder if they can try experimenting with privatization..

  7. so glad that the Indian railways are also moving with the times!!

  8. Good intentions! Here's to making the world a greener place!

  9. Thanks.this no doubt saves labor,but what if i misplace my mobile?

    • Hi Indu: It is a good idea to forward the SMS to one of the group members who is traveling with you..in worst case scenario where you loose your mobile the ID should do the trick..!

  10. useful information regarding rail tickets

  11. The title of this post made me a little curious. 🙂

    I have also stopped carrying a printout for train journeys, mobile does a job for me. But I would like to go to a place where they haven't heard of paperless ticket yet. 🙂

    Nisha – Le Monde-A Poetic Travail

    • Hi Nisha: Thanks for dropping by… I guess the old charm of the places not discovered tough to find… may be try one of the small toy trains to a hill station like Ooty or some where in Himachal..

  12. you're absolutely rt.. from this year, I've altogether stopped carrying a printout of ticket. just show it from my mobile and thats it. I'm actually happy to see the railways show this kind of initiative

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