Indian Railways Launches Android Mobile App, Making Ticketing Easier For Millions

About a year after Indian Railways launched its mobile app for windows 8 smartphones, which attracted very few users, Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd., or IRCTC, has finally launched the app for Android-based smartphones, opening up the service to millions of users across the country.

Version 1.1 of the official app, called IRCTC Connect, has been available for free download from Oct. 9 on the Google Play store, which shows more than 10,000 people have downloaded it so far. The 11.78 MB app needs Android’s version 4.1 or higher to work. Android phones are extremely popular in India, and affordable phones based on Google’s Android One platform that are flooding the Indian smartphone market could help the state-run railways enhance the reach of its new ticketing app.

The app allows a quick login for existing users of IRCTC, and easy registration for new users, following which searching for trains and buying tickets is expected to be a painless affair.

“Indian Railways run 12,617 trains to carry over 23 million passengers per day connecting more than 7,172 stations spread across the sub continent,” India’s minister for railways Sadananda Gowda had said on July 8, presenting the annual budget for the country’s vast but ageing rail network for the current fiscal year, which ends on March 31, 2015.

The latest feature would be a far cry from the chaotic ticketing stations around the country where serpentine lines form round the year as people clamor to book tickets months in advance to beat the holiday rush.

“The wait is over … you desired, we developed,” IRCTC said on the mobile app’s site.

The e-commerce software platform that Indian Railways’ online ticketing system runs on is sold by BroadVision Inc. a Nasdaq-listed software maker based in Redwood City, california.

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