Monday, July 18, 2016

UTS: Useless Ticketing System

The Indian Railways is now actively promoting its UTS app. The app has been around for quite some time, but has not received any traction because of the problems associated with the app - in other words, it has 'made by Government' written all over it.

First, though it is supposed to make train ticketing easy, it is not exactly so. Sometimes, we feel the app has been designed to discourage booking of tickets from the app! It doesn't allow booking tickets if we are close to the platform. We have to be away at a considerable distance to be able to book a ticket. What if we are late and we have to book a ticket? Or if we decide to book a platform ticket after we reach the station?

The app drives us round the bend with repeated errors and messages that we are too close to the platform. We have to keep moving all around the place to 'discover' the spot where the app decides to have our way.

The worst part is that if you change your mobile, you just cannot use the app in the new mobile. You have to go to and request the Indian Railway's approval for you to switch the app to the new mobile.

Now, what happens if you have to change the mobile again? No. The Indian Railways thinks it is too much work and informs you that you have to wait for three months to do it. What if you have a season ticket in the app? Forget it. You HAVE to have the other mobile. What if you have lost the mobile? You have to lodge a complaint at a police station, take the FIR copy to the Chief Commercial Manager (Don't know where he sits? Search). What if the mobile is faulty? Go to a service centre, give the mobile for servicing, and give the service centre receipt to the CCM. If the mobile breaks? Give proof of the broken mobile to the CCM and get his approval to change the handset.

Do these sound ridiculous? May be, but these were the answers given by the UTS helpline.

The worst part is the Indian Railways will tell you that you cannot change the app the second time only AFTER you try to change it. The usless UTS website (which is not also mobile friendly), won't tell you anything about it.

The site and the app are handled by the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS). And even in Narendra Modi's Digital India, it has not bothered to create itself a Twitter handle. And emails go unanswered.

Tweets to the Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and the Indian Railways went unanswered. As a friend said, may be @sureshpprabhu will respond only if we praise him.

There are things we never understand. Nor do the 'makers', in this case it is the Indian Railways.