The Indian Railways is reported to be in the process of doing away with paper tickets in toto, instead it will be sending SMSes to the passengers. As of now, only those booking e-tickets get text messages from the Railways, which can be used as proper tickets, but once this system is introduced, anyone booking a journey ticket—reserved or unreserved—will be able to travel without going for a paper ticket.
According to sources in the Ministry of Railways, a file has been moved in this regard and is now under the consideration of the Ministry of Finance. Once nodded by them, the 162-year-old paper tickets will become a thing of past.
The Railways is said to have opted for premium commercial bulk SMSes feature, as normal category SMSes could take time for delivery. But since a traveller buying a ticket at the counter won’t leave the counter unless sure that he has actually purchased the ticket, it could lead to long queues at the railway counters.
To meet the additional cost of premium SMSes, the ministry plans to go for advertisements featuring in those text messages, thus making the SMSes sponsored ones, according to the sources.
One of the points of consideration, said have cropped up during the deliberations for introduction of the SMS ticket system, is: what if a passenger doesn’t have a mobile phone? But the railway authorities feel that since almost all e-ticket holders don’t carry printed tickets, mobile phones cannot be a constraining factor.