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Monday, July 12, 2010
Ever since Irctc launched its Online reservation system(which was limited to metropolitan cities),it provided passengers the easy to book tickets online without any need to stand in long queue's.By 2006A,there were approximately 153 million registered users of Irctc.Not only this,but in featured in the list of top online money making giants(First time a  public sector company).But after that ,the number of online users increased so drastically & at such an unprecedented rate that Irctc couldn't handle the traffic & most of the users were running into Service Unavailable error.More details  on how to fix this error can be found here.Under pressure Irctc decided to share its online  booking  features to a few more clients thereby attempting to reduce the traffic load.(Especially @ 8 A.M when the booking starts).These co-operators include some recognized names like Thomas cook(Thomas holidays),Yatra,Make my trip etc.Lets take a look @ the websites which allow online ticket booking for Indian Railways:
1)Irctc:This is the most widely used site for online booking.First of its kind,this site offers very limited advertiesments & literary no ad pop-ups.The biggest flaw with this is it cannot handle heavy traffic load on the opening day or while  booking Tatkal tickets.An insider has claimed that inorder to maximise its revneue,Irctc is deliberately displaying the Service unavailable error,so that people will go & book tickets from Agents who charge atleast 50 to 200% more than the usual rate.This inadvertently increases Irctc's overall revenues.In addition to this, a lot of people have also complained that Irctc sometimes doesn't refund the cash for canceled or waiting-listed tickets.Visit Irctc here.Incase you want a more detailed guide on how to book ticket via Irctc & avoid Service Unavaiable error,Click here.Irctc launched its Beta version which is claimed to be more user friendly & advertisement free compared to the original website.Check it out here.
2)Southern Railway: This is a parallel site to Irctc.This website also shares the same database N features like Irctc .You will  encounter the same Service Unavailable error just like Irctc website  on the opening day or while  booking Tatkal tickets.My fix also works for this site.You can take a look here.Click here to go to Southern railway online reservation page.
3)Thomas Cook:Thomas cook has entered the Indian Railway system with a bang.Named after the legendary founder "Thomas Cook",they offer various  services like group tours,holiday packages etc.Now they in collaboration with Irctc is providing online reservation service.This site is a lot faster than Irctc ,but there are two places where there  is very high probability to get stuck.One is in the ticket availability screen & the other payment screen.But the likeliness of this error appearing is minimal compared to IRctc's errors.You can visit their site here.
4)Clear trip: Cleartrip.com is the travel site that gives you what you need without any annoying fluff.All they care about is to provide a hassle free ticket booking experience.They have a simpler Gui & a better response than Irctc.Another add on feature is you can list the rate in ascending or descending order for the multiple trains available for your journey.But the only issue i found with this site is that there is no provision to book TATKAL tickets,which really is a big letdown as more n more people are after tatkal booking facilities.Apart from this I havent come across any issue with this site.Better add up the tatkal features else you will loose a lot of revenue & traffic.Visit the website here.
5)Yatra: Yatra Online Pvt. Ltd. is a smart travel company providing information, pricing, availability and booking facility for air travel, hotels, buses and car rentals across 5000 large cities and small rural areas around the globe. This website comes with a few lively flash pages & scripts so might be a bit slower than Clear trip.Having said that,they have an efficient ticket checking system where users can check ticket availability for forthcoming days without any need to search all over again(Something omittedin Irctc & other booking sites).There are only two drawbacks with this website as per me : One you need to enter the station name & not the code.Entering the station code will display irrelevant stations and the second is there are only 3 payment modes available :Icici internet banking,Itz cash N Credit cards.It would be better if they can include other payment options like Hdfc,Sbi debit etc.If those features are added then this is the second best site i would suggest for online ticket booking.Visit Yatra here.
6)Make My Trip: If you want a booking site which is the most high-tech of em all & offers better services all @ once then it has to be Make My Trip.Aimed to offer a range of best-value products and services along with cutting-edge technology and dedicated round-the-clock customer support,MakeMyTrip.com is India's leading online travel company was founded in the year 2000.Although a bit slower than Clear trip(Also sounds rhyming with it),it provides the features skipped by Clear trip & Yatra making it an all in one site.They really have outsmarted the rest by thinking innovatively & are currently providing pretty good service.They have the second highest payment modes surpassed only by Irctc.They have a flash based site which adds more interactivity & gives its users ultimate experience.Visit Make my trip here.
Well there you have it.These are the online ticket booking vendors for Indian Railways until more & more enter this domain.I do hope that the Indian Railways can atleast make sure that their servers function 24* 7 so that atleast people from non Irctc's can book tickets peacefully.Its really a headache booking ticket online now a days!

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