Foreign Tourist Quota (FTQ) - A Basic Guide

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#136 Sep 12th, 2017, 13:23
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#136
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Originally Posted by nigelg View Post Has anybody actually managed to use the feature on the IRCTC website to buy rail tickets from the FTQ more than 120 days in advance?
Sorry, I can't offer any useful info, I'm still waiting for my OTP before I can attempt a FTQ booking, but I have a few questions.


Quote:
Originally Posted by nigelg View Post I had no difficulty registering my (UK) mobile number on my IRCTC profile
Did you already have an IRCTC account using the same mobile number (but Indian international dialling code), did you only have to change the International dialling code? (I tried to change the dialling code on my existing IRCTC account mobile number, but got the message 'number already exists', so had to use a different mobile number)

Did you have a problem with the 'zip' code? (IRCTC wouldn't accept a UK postcode, so I had to change the 'State' to New York and use Donald Trump's zip code)


Quote:
Originally Posted by nigelg View Post .........and paying the 100 rupees to do so.
How long did you wait for the One Time Password (OTP), I'm still waiting, it's been 6 days so far.

Are you only being offered 1A/EC & 2A (the only classes being offered for FTQ ahead of the ARP)

Is the total cost of your 2A tickets just over Rs3000 per person? (assuming you're using train 12816 for MGS-PURI, it should cost 1.5 x fare plus Rs200 service charge)
#137 Sep 12th, 2017, 13:47
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#137
Did you already have an IRCTC account using the same mobile number (but Indian international dialling code), did you only have to change the International dialling code? (I tried to change the dialling code on my existing IRCTC account mobile number, but got the message 'number already exists', so had to use a different mobile number)

I did have an IRCTC account, but I had to change the mobile number when I changed the international code to 44 (UK), because I got the same error

Did you have a problem with the 'zip' code? (IRCTC wouldn't accept a UK postcode, so I had to change the 'State' to New York and use Donald Trump's zip code)

Yes, I just used '123456'

How long did you wait for the One Time Password (OTP), I'm still waiting, it's been 6 days so far.


Only a few minutes

Are you only being offered 1A/EC & 2A (the only classes being offered for FTQ ahead of the ARP)


Only 2A is available on train #12816.


Is the total cost of your 2A tickets just over Rs3000 per person? (assuming you're using train 12816 for MGS-PURI, it should cost 1.5 x fare plus Rs200 service charge)


Yes. The total cost is 6055 for 2 people. The actual fare is 5816 with the 1.5 surcharge, plus the service charge.

The reason I am trying to get these tickets on the FTQ instead of waiting for the normal ticket window to open is that there are only 4 2A berths available on the remote quota from MGS to PURI; the train originates in NDLS. The train also has 3A, but still only 10 of those. We could go SL; that would be a new experience for us!

Different but related questions.
Is it likely to be relatively easy to book this train in the usual ticketing window?
What sort of demand might there be for this train on a Monday?
#138 Sep 12th, 2017, 14:47
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#138
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Originally Posted by nigelg View Post .

Different but related questions.
Is it likely to be relatively easy to book this train in the usual ticketing window?
What sort of demand might there be for this train on a Monday?
You can use a site as etrain to get an idea about the availability of seats.
#139 Sep 12th, 2017, 15:47
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#139
Thanks for the reply Nigelg

Quote:
Originally Posted by nigelg View Post
The reason I am trying to get these tickets on the FTQ instead of waiting for the normal ticket window to open is that there are only 4 2A berths available on the remote quota from MGS to PURI; the train originates in NDLS. The train also has 3A, but still only 10 of those. We could go SL; that would be a new experience for us!

Different but related questions.

Is it likely to be relatively easy to book this train in the usual ticketing window?
What sort of demand might there be for this train on a Monday?
I understand why you're concerned about booking, it takes just one group of 4 people to book the 2A quota from MGS, then you'd be looking for alternatives, you could then try booking from Fatehpur (FTP), then Aligarh Jn (ALJN), both use different quotas, then you change your boarding station to MGS.

But it's difficult to predict when a train will book, for departure days around Indian holidays trains can book out within minutes of bookings opening, then there's the exodus from huge cities at the end of the week (or the reverse for start of week).

The biggest lesson I learned on Indian Railways is the size of cities that we know little about, and how business men and families move between them, it made me look at the route and timings of trains in a different way, your train for example originates in the mega city of Delhi, there's a million reasons why people from all over India can need to go to Delhi, but forget Delhi for a moment, the train's timings are great for an overnight journey from Allahabad (same population as Birmingham), Varanasi (Birmingham), Patna (2 x Birmingham), then arrives in the morning at Cuttack (Glasgow) Bhubaneshwar (bigger than Leeds) and Puri (major tourism and religios town), to make matters worse, there's no direct flights to Cuttack/Bhubaneshwar/Puri, only from Delhi.

If that train on that date is important to your itinerary, then book it before the ARP, it's worth the extra money just for the piece of mind.
#140 Sep 12th, 2017, 16:28
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#140
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Originally Posted by Newworld View Post Thanks for the reply Nigelg

I understand why you're concerned about booking, it takes just one group of 4 people to book the 2A quota from MGS, then you'd be looking for alternatives, you could then try booking from Fatehpur (FTP), then Aligarh Jn (ALJN), both use different quotas, then you change your boarding station to MGS.
Newworld, thanks for the insight, especially about the large cities on the route from New Delhi to Puri. I checked on IRCTC, and there are many more berths available from ALJN, particularly in 3A. I was not aware that the boarding station can be changed. I will probably use that option if I am unable to book when the ARP opens my required date. I am on a fairly tight schedule this time.

I would gladly book prior to the ARP and pay the surcharge, but I cannot get the IRCTC website to accept my payment when I try using the FTQ feature. I am still curious as to whether this feature actually works, since my numerous booking attempts have all failed, most of them after the payment has been approved by my UK credit card company.
#141 Sep 12th, 2017, 16:42
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#141
I assume you have used the international card option for your payment, for more details see https://www.seat61.com/India.htm#Buy-tickets-online
#142 Sep 12th, 2017, 16:43
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#142
Is this mobile-phone OTP thing an Indian thing, or has the rest of the world started doing it too? It's a regular part of life here. They usually arrive instantly, sometimes within a few minutes. Days? No idea how the irctc site is working for me signups etc now. I booked two tickets recently... If there was an OTP involved I don't remember (because they are common here)... But the booking only took a few minutes.

Six days? Newworld, I'm afraid something failed. But who knows.... Despite improvements over the years, I'm sure the irctc stinking heap of steaming doggy dung department is still full staffed.
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#143 Sep 12th, 2017, 17:03
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#143
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Originally Posted by vonkla View Post I assume you have used the international card option for your payment, for more details see https://www.seat61.com/India.htm#Buy-tickets-online
Yes, I did use that option. I had already successfully paid the 100 rupees charge to add my foreign mobile number, and also made a normal booking within the ARP.

I got my OTP very quickly. I did find that when I was having a problem getting IRCTC to reply when I was creating my account, that a tweet as mentioned on Seat61 moved the process on.
#144 Sep 13th, 2017, 03:31
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#144
Hi,
I had a look at the seat 61 India link, and can't find anything about sending a "tweet"? Also there is no updated info about booking from the FTQ via the internet? Am I looking at an out of date webpage...?

Ed.
#145 Sep 13th, 2017, 05:25
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#145
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Originally Posted by OldandRambling View Post Hi,
I had a look at the seat 61 India link, and can't find anything about sending a "tweet"? Also there is no updated info about booking from the FTQ via the internet? Am I looking at an out of date webpage...?

Ed.
The Seat61 website section, How to register & activate an IRCTC account, has been updated now that IRCTC allows foreign mobile numbers. The tweet advice has been removed. Try tweeting @IRCTC_Ltd; that account appears to be monitored, so you may get some help to complete your registration.

I cannot see any FTQ advice on there either. I found that this was conceptually possible from here, even thouugh I have not yet been able to complete a booking.
#146 Sep 13th, 2017, 13:54
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#146
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Originally Posted by nigelg View Post I am still curious as to whether this feature actually works, since my numerous booking attempts have all failed,
I'm not aware of anyone successfully booking via advance FTQ, I'd like to think IRCTC would be asking questions and wondering what was wrong if many people hadn't booked, but then again, 'number already exists', then not accepting British postcodes, and not automating the OTP system, it's very sad that nobody seems to know (or care) what's going on, I've tried emailing and tweeting both IRCTC and the tourism minister many times in the past, at one stage I was doing it daily for a month, and I've never received a single reply, I normally only experience these problems when dealing with my ex-wife.

The thing is, I would give up many hours of very many days or months to help IRCTC/Indian Railways to get their systems working efficiently for foreign tourists, I would thoroughly test the system and offer suggestions for improvements based on knowledge and experience, and I wouldn't want a penny for it, but they wont answer any message I send them.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post Is this mobile-phone OTP thing an Indian thing, or has the rest of the world started doing it too?
Banks have a OTP system in the UK for security changes or large online transactions, and some Internet security/email offer a OTP option, but that's all I've noticed in the UK.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post Six days? Newworld, I'm afraid something failed. But who knows.... Despite improvements over the years, I'm sure the irctc stinking heap of steaming doggy dung department is still full staffed.
Seems the office may be a little bloated and in need of a laxative.

I was determined to wait for the OTP just to see if the system is working, after all, a wait of 1 week was common practice when we first signed up to IRCTC/Cleartrip, but I feel Nigelg's frustration, so I've treeted to try to move the process along, then I can attempt a booking to see if it works.

Anyway, IRCTC is good practice for my upcoming visa application, guess I need to inset a little humour into my blood before starting that nightmare.

For Visa application survivors, a little light relief.
#147 Sep 14th, 2017, 01:05
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#147
It seems to me that the threat of wrath from above, in the Indian hierarchy, works better than protests from below...

Rather than sending tweets, emails, etc to the railways, why not write/email to the editors of big Indian daily newspapers?

They probably would love a story about the drive to increase tourist numbers and income being stopped by twatty computer setups ?

Might even produce some response from the railways at last...

Ed.

* Twatty is another word for incompetent.
#148 Sep 14th, 2017, 16:11
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#148
This query is not really relevant to the FTQ, but it does follow on from a previous answer in the thread.

The suggestion by Newworld to book from ALJN and set the boarding station to MGS looks like it is the best strategy. If I check a random date a long way in advance but inside the ARP, there are about 10 available berths in 2A, and 90 available in 3A, from ALJN to PURI. So, I can book these berths and set the boarding station to MGS. Indeed, it appears from the booking form that I can set the boarding station to be any stop between ALJN and PURI.

I do not really understand the reason this is allowed. By setting the boarding station to MGS the berth is reserved for me from MGS, but is not available for anybody who wants to travel from ALJN beyond MGS. In this case the berth is reserved for about 10 hours and 900km while the train travels from ALJN to MGS, and my booking in effect moves the berth from the General Quota to the Remote Quota from a later station than ALJN. Is that really what is intended? How does this benefit Indian Railways or travellers?

I did look in the threads by beach and steven_ber, but I could not find an answer to this, which has puzzled me. Does anybody feel like explaining further? Maybe I should just accept it and my good fortune, as a nice metaphor generally for travel in India!
#149 Sep 15th, 2017, 00:25
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#149
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Originally Posted by nigelg View Post I do not really understand the reason this is allowed. By setting the boarding station to MGS the berth is reserved for me from MGS, but is not available for anybody who wants to travel from ALJN beyond MGS. In this case the berth is reserved for about 10 hours and 900km while the train travels from ALJN to MGS, and my booking in effect moves the berth from the General Quota to the Remote Quota from a later station than ALJN. Is that really what is intended? How does this benefit Indian Railways or travellers?
Indian Railway booking quotas are indeed very complex, especially when it comes to longer distance trains.

A long distance train is introduced (we'll use this Delhi-Puri train as an example), and the railways hope it will fill a need for passengers to get from Delhi (and surrounds) to Cuttack, Bhubaneshwar and Puri, but they're also aware that some passengers may want to use this train for shorter distance journeys.

The majority of berths are allocated to reservations covering the longer distances (usually 80-100% of total route), and these are placed in the General quota (GN), the railways then try to work out what station pairings may also attract passengers (for example, Allahabad (ALD)-PURI), they then make ALD a remote location station for this train (mostly, the few stations after a RL station are included in that RL quota, MGS bookings are taken from the ALD RL quota), and assign a small number of berths to the remote location quota (RL), these same berths then go on another quota, the Delhi-ALD remote station quota (RS), There can be many RL stations, yet there will always be station pairings that don't fall into either GN, RS or RL, so the railways also reserve a few berths for the Pooled Quota (PQ), there can be booked between any stations, then availability will depend on what stations those PQ berths are still vacant for, this is a very simplistic explanation, in reality, it's a little more complex.

It's probably easier to understand if you do a search for your train on erail.in, then click on your train number, then look in the lower half of the screen, you'll see the stations your train calls at, then you'll see a RL next to any stations that have been made RL stations for this train, generally, all stations up to the next RL station are included in the previous RL quota, eg, MGS is part of ALD.s RL quota

But, to answer your question, the berth you reserve on the ALD RL quota was likely used by someone on the Delhi-ALD RS quota.

Station quotas (GN, RS, RL, PQ) are adjusted periodically depending on booking patterns.

EDIT

The railways are happy for you to book from an earlier station (usually to get a GN quota booking), then change your boarding station, because you pay the fare from the earlier station.

In the past we had to book from ALJN to PURI, and then only after paying for the ticket, then go back and change the boarding station, I'm not sure if this has changed, in the past if you tried to change the boarding station before paying, then you were given the availability numbers for your boarding station, so there was no point in attempting to rig the system, I'm sure this changed though, you can check by getting the availability numbers from erail.in, then attempt to book from ALJN to PURI and change boarding station to MGS and then look at the availability numbers again before booking.
#150 Sep 15th, 2017, 01:25
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#150
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The railways are happy for you to book from an earlier station (usually to get a GN quota booking), then change your boarding station, because you pay the fare from the earlier station.
Would not they also issue that seat number to some one who is traveling in that route which was left vacant due to change in boarding point?
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