How could the Indian Railway site be improved?

#1 Mar 17th, 2005, 02:12
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  • steven_ber is offline
#1
Its no secret that the Indian Railways website (http://www.indianrail.gov.in/) is complex to some of us, and very confusing to most of us, how could the website be improved?

To be fair, it has improved a lot over the past couple of years, though it still has a long way to go.

It is a very complex rail network, but then India has some of the best web designers in the world.

In what ways do you think it could be improved?

I think a few things would help.

1, Have ALL trains schedules (including passenger trains), accommodation, availability, fares, and anything directly involved in getting from one train station to another, all on a separate website.

2, Develop a programme that could calculate how to get from 'A' to 'B' when there is no direct (or daily) train, added to this programme could be an 'alternative route' button, this would help when the only direct train from a particular station is at a very inconvenient time (there is often a much better option at a nearby junction (a good example of this is Umaria (for Bandhavgarh N.P.), Katni is close by and has many more trains).

3, Have all rules regarding the railways, trains, tickets, reservations, cancellations etc. on the website, at the moment it is just a select few, and not enough info about these.

4, Get rid of the pop-ups.

I can think of a few more, but the football starts in 3 minutes.
#2 Mar 17th, 2005, 02:58
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#2

Gricer, First Class!

Indian Railways should make Steven Ber its Ombudsman! I don't know of anyone who knows more about trains than Steven. Back in the '60's my uncle Myles Berg had an HO scale train that he set up on the hillside under his house at Lake Arrowhead in California. Four trains could run on it, there were railroad crossings, model houses, hills, tunnels and a lake. My aunt and uncle Rie and Jerry Sharp were big train enthusiasts with maps, charts and train schedules from all over the American West. They would visit train stations and museums on their summer vacations. In June 1983 I met Tim and Elizabeth Bloxam from Swansea, Wales at the Pakistan/India border crossing. This was on the train trip between Lahore and Amritsar. Tim and Liz carried a thick Indian Railways train table book with them. I suspect they were secretly checking to see if all of the trains were on time.

Mr. Ber far surpasses them. Steven probably counts railway carriages in order to fall asleep at night. Heinie Manush! Heinie Manush! Heinie Manush! Heinie Manush! Dave DeBusschere was known for memorizing the New York City telephone directory. Ask him the page, column and line number and he would spout out the name, address, and telephone number. Steven Ber may well have memorized the Indian Railways time table!
#3 Mar 17th, 2005, 03:06
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#3
Steven...Indian Railways is talking to Oracle to upgrade its reservation system. The flat-file system will be upgraded to a database system now.

Let us hope this will also lead to the upgradation of the Indrail site. Meanwhile raid Irsuggestions.com with your ideas. Who knows, they may see the day somdeday.
...and I took the road less travelled.
#4 Mar 17th, 2005, 03:09
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yetijuice Mr. Ber far surpasses them. Steven probably counts railway carriages in order to fall asleep at night. Heinie Manush! Heinie Manush! Heinie Manush! Heinie Manush! Dave DeBusschere was known for memorizing the New York City telephone directory. Ask him the page, column and line number and he would spout out the name, address, and telephone number. Steven Ber may well have memorized the Indian Railways time table!
Heheheheh... quite true. But then, Yetijiuce, you must meet a few characters from IRFCA.
#5 Mar 17th, 2005, 06:43
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#5
its time for a complete revamp. They should model the site after some of the better rail websites out there. We should just send them a list of those.

Spain:http://horarios.renfe.es/hir/ingles.html
UK: http://www.britrail.net/eur/index.html
USA: http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/Conten...mtrak/HomePage
#6 Mar 17th, 2005, 07:48
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#6
How about the ability to reserve a ticket and picking it up at a machine at the station (start with major stations).
As a matter of fact, ticketing machines would be great for Indian railways.

Ideally one should be able to buy a ticket online and print it (like an airline eticket), but given the current mechanisms that would open up many opportunities for abuse, which we know the Indians would try to take advantage of (just imagine a dozen Indians all with a fake reservation for the same seat that they bought off of some "agent").

Also, it would be great if the schedules for ALL trains everywhere in the system would be available somewhere.

Another cool function would be to be able to input a station name and see all trains leaving within a certain time frame (next 4 hours, tomorrow, etc.) for all of us backpackers that need ideas on where to go.

Oh, and a function that tolerates our mispellings/alternate spellings of place names to some extent. When I want to go to Ooty, I don't want to have to remember Udagamandalam or however it's spelt. Oh, and am I going to Trivandrum or Thiruvanathapuram, Bombay or Mumbai, Kollam or Quilon, Calcutta or Kolkata or maybe Howrah?
#7 Mar 17th, 2005, 08:12
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#7
Steven,

Though the IR website is very good, it could certainly do with a few improvements.

1. It should certainly include ALL trains.

2. It should include a link to a very good railway map. Then, a programme on knowing how to get from"A" to "B" by the shortest route is unnecessary. Let the user have some fun trying to find the best route!

3. The news and announcements should be regularly updated. New train introductions/amendments should be immediately incorporated in the timetables.

4. The "Trains between important stations" tab is unnecessary, when one has the "Train/Fare Accomodation". The former is confusing on the station codes and hence should be dropped.

5. The site should provide links to the zonal railways' websites.

6. Information on the "Rail Yatri Nivas" at New Delhi and Puri should be included.
Whoever said money can't buy happiness didn't know where to shop !
#8 Mar 17th, 2005, 16:53
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#8
a) Do away with the banner Ads. If Ads must be placed, use text Ads that are non intrusive.

b) E-ticketing is already being talked of. On the contrary, e-tickets would reduce abuse as a photo-ID would be compulsory. Not any photo-id but govt issued ones such as (pan cards, driving licences, passports, others..). Will reduce the ticket printing costs for the railways too.

c) While the backend is extremely efficient and accurate considering the huge network and load, the UI could do with some serious changes.
1) Test site for ALL browsers.
2) use colors that are Indian Railway colors, if they have any set ones
3) make it more intuitive and easy to use....
#9 Mar 22nd, 2005, 13:37
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#9
Bah, the site shouldn't be changed in any way. It's so Indian! I love planning for my trip to India in a few months because it takes more than typing www.aircanada.com and choosing something that works for me. The site has good content, you just have to be patient and find the meat amongst all the scrap.
#10 Mar 28th, 2005, 02:47
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#10
Have the website run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is the only website that I know of that has operating hours. A bit of a pain in the backside when trying to book tickets or check ticket status from North America. I suspect that the reason why is because someone still has to manually fill out the paperwork after your info has been submitted electronically.
#11 Mar 28th, 2005, 02:51
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#11
Now I like Shimla's suggestion, all trains. That would mean I wouldn't have to acquire local knowledge to use the short range trains..
#12 Mar 28th, 2005, 11:00
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#12

some practical problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by 04274108 Have the website run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is the only website that I know of that has operating hours. A bit of a pain in the backside when trying to book tickets or check ticket status from North America. I suspect that the reason why is because someone still has to manually fill out the paperwork after your info has been submitted electronically.
No, there is no manual paperwork being done. none at all.

True, no logic why the website cannot be open 24x7. thats a bummer. even if logically they wanted to keep it same as the counter booking hours, they should have shut it at 8 PM, the counter closing time. keeping it open for little longer is confusing.
#13 Mar 28th, 2005, 11:33
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#13
Quote:
Originally Posted by 04274108 Have the website run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is the only website that I know of that has operating hours. A bit of a pain in the backside when trying to book tickets or check ticket status from North America. I suspect that the reason why is because someone still has to manually fill out the paperwork after your info has been submitted electronically.
Tape backups. Pain..in..the...ass. But, it keeps the integrity of the data up for cheap, causing the low fares, and hey, when you're the monopoly, who cares? (heh, that rhymed )
#14 Mar 28th, 2005, 11:45
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#14
The Indian railways site indianrail.gov.in is indeed open 24 hrs. You can check status, fares etc any time of the day. They do allow reservation facility only between 8am-8pm but that's so that internet users do not get an unfair advantage over those who buy tickets over the counter, who may not have access to the internet or don't use it for reservations.

I do think however, that they could allow the tourist quota of tickets to be available over the internet 24 hours.

The other railway reservation IRCTC website irctc.co.in is operative only during the daytime.
#15 Mar 28th, 2005, 13:53
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#15
Quote:
Originally Posted by soulfood The Indian railways site indianrail.gov.in is indeed open 24 hrs. You can check status, fares etc any time of the day. They do allow reservation facility only between 8am-8pm but that's so that internet users do not get an unfair advantage over those who buy tickets over the counter, who may not have access to the internet or don't use it for reservations.

I do think however, that they could allow the tourist quota of tickets to be available over the internet 24 hours.

The other railway reservation IRCTC website irctc.co.in is operative only during the daytime.
There's only one reservation site, and that's www.irctc.co.in. One can book from 04=00 to 23=30 IST, on all days including Sundays.

Internet users do have an advantage over those queuing up at booking windows; fair or unfair !

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