Getting a train ticket will soon be as easy as, say, filling petrol.
The Indian Railways is all set to issue tickets through a chain of petrol stations and cooking gas distribution outlets across the country.
On Monday, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) will sign an agreement with Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and the e-ticketing facility will come into force soon after.
E-ticketing will initially be launched at 38 petrol stations in seven major cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Pune and Secunderabad. It will gradually be extended to more outlets and to other cities.
Customers will get computer printouts of tickets after paying a nominal service charge of Rs 30 for the second class and Rs 40 for the aircondition classes.
The infrastructure and booking staff for the e-ticketing project will be arranged for by BPCL, which will operate on a commission-sharing basis with IRCTC.
The IRCTC, which handles the online booking of railway tickets, already has a similar partnership arrangement with internet service provider Sify Ltd for sale of tickets through its network of 3,400 cyber cafes in 154 cities. E-ticketing is also being carried out by the State Bank of India through its ATMs and government-recognised travel agents.
A senior railway official said the move is part of their efforts to bring rail services to the doorsteps of passengers. According to sources, talks are in an advanced stage for a similar arrangement with the Department of Posts.