Railway tickets issued by the counter don’t get a failed transaction. Why doesn’t it happen with IRCTC? Everynow and then there is a failed transaction & thousands of rupees get deducted without getting reservation.
The problem is not the PRS system. That system in itself is quite robust, as evident from how thousands of PRS counters can handle booking tickets reliably and quickly. The problem is the IRCTC web infrastructure. Without going very technical, the issue with IRCTC is that it still uses a pretty archaic infrastructure which is clearly incapable of handling the amount of traffic that hits it every day.
If you are technically inclined, I can point out a couple of technical issues with IRCTC. First of all, they seem to serve all their content from their own few origin servers that are probably based in Delhi (based on IP address trace that I did once). This system is not scalable. A site like IRCTC that sees request floods at specific times (eg: morning 8am) needs to utilize content delivery networks (CDN) with redundancy rather than serving from their own few servers. Secondly, the way they deliver their webpages is not efficient. They need to separate out the static and dynamic content and work on making the site lighter. For example, the IRCTC site is so cluttered with so many images in the background, tables etc which is not really required, and even if they want to keep it, there are means to optimize this by caching and delivering static content like background etc separately rather than delivering it all with dynamic content which is the actual availability numbers that change every minute. Their existing system increases the data being fetched and makes loading pages very slow, sometimes so slow that their HTTP sessions timeout.
Long story short- IRCTC website is unprofessionally designed and not optimized for internet flood we see these days.
I agree with your view point that the IRCTC website is not optimized fully with the servers they have. I learned that IRCTC is powered by broad vision a amercian company which is using a very old programming structure , some one proffesional need to optimizied further to make it fast and it is possible . But the question come first – who will tie the bell in cat neck. As CRIS cant interfere in IRCTC business as irctc has tied up with broad vision. Also why there is need of so many image ( ads) when they get a good service charge revenue which make a site slower .
True. One of the things IRCTC really needs to do is make their site lighter. People come to IRCTC to book tickets, not to have an immersive visual experience. I just ran some analytics using some tools I have, and I see requesting just the homepage of IRCTC involves sending requests to the server more than 20 times to fetch different .gif images and .css stylesheet objects. This is completely unnecessary. It would help a lot if IRCTC goes to a simple minimalistic interface, similar to Google Flights search site. See the comparison here-
PRS stands for Passenger Reservation System – this is the backbone of the ticketing system be it on the counter, on IRCTC or any other ticketing website. This was developed and is still managed by CRIS. The IRCTC website is an interface which allows passengers to access the PRS system to book a ticket. At a very basic level it is the same as a ticket clerk booking your ticket at the counter.
The IRCTC website is hosted on a server – which also manages the database of users registered with IRCTC and allows them to login and conduct transactions. The problem lies with the enormous load placed on this server(s) by the high number of simultaneous users logging in and booking / modifying tickets. That is the reason why the site is slow and often pages fail to load or the desired results are not retrieved.
Another aspect of this set up is the payment gateway – which manages the monetary aspect of the transaction. This gateway(s) is neither owned or operated by IRCTC / CRIS, but by third party companies specializing in this area. These are either banking firms or specialized merchants like Billpay.
The IRCTC website again acts as an interface to allow users to access their desired payment gateway to pay the amount needed to book the ticket. Here too, the heavy load on the IRCTC server often disrupts the transaction causing it to fail. Since the amount has not changed hands in this scenario – the transaction is nullified and the CRIS server does not issue a ticket.
Both the CRIS as well as the Payment Gateway setups are robust systems. It is the IRCTC interface which is the weak link. The issues plaguing the IRCTC serves are essentially IT infrastructure related and mostly beyond the scope of discussions of IRFCA.
The failed transaction is the amount that is to be paid by us for saving the time in standing reservation queues, In the web forums there are so many complaints about IRCTC web site, anyone working there do they read any of them, if they havent read then what else to say look for coiciest words only.
If they have read and they act this way for that also then we should use choicest words to abuse them.
THey know for sure the volume of transactions done and the failed transaction refunds made everyday, why can’t they improve.
In other words they say dont use our technology go stand in a queue and get a ticket.
Let my add my own “Paise” (English: Penny) on this. There was some considerable confusion about refund which I thought I had not received. The Bank kept insisting that the refund was marked for the same day on which the transaction took place. I refused to believe them, and escalated the matter to the highest level, i.e. the EA to the Vice Chairman and MD. They again said the very same thing. Since I had reached the peak on the Bank front, I chose to shoot off a mail to the ticket administration on IRCTC. They came back with the details of the transfer, and I was surprised to find that the refund had indeed been made in such a manner that it showed as a credit in my account on the very same date on which the transaction had been done. In that respect I must say, and indeed, request members to check whether the refund was made on the “same date” as the transaction, or later. In that respect of responses to queries about anything under the sun about trains, bookings, cancellations, et al, I find their response absolutely super, although many may not agree. I then apologised and thanked the Bank staff and sent a letter of appreciation, and as well to the ticketadmin at IRCTC. Good wishes.
This has reference to failed transactions. There are umpteen instances of money being debited from an individual’s account and the reservation not going through. One, he does not get a ticket and two, he has to wait for a couple of working for the refund to be credited back.
The questions that arise are
When the ticket is not issued why shouldn’t the refund be done instantaneously in the same way as the debit to the passenger’s account.?
Who uses the float -the refund money lies with whom- the payment gateway or IR ?
Why should IRCTC hide behind the cliche of reconciling failed transactions before effecting a refund?
Is the CRIS system incapable of recognizing the various payment gateways used by a particular user id?
This robs a passenger of giving another shot at reservations immediately after a transaction has failed especially when net banking, cash cards, debit cards and credit cards are nearing their limits.
If this is sorted out then it would be of immense help to a passenger during peak season booking.
What is the reason that almost one-in-four is a failed transaction on IRCTC website?
Failure of transactions may be for several reasons. Slow speed of online services of various banks – we have tie-ups with 18 of them — is a major cause. The payment gateway transaction takes about 1.5-2 minutes. But for some banks, take longer, resulting often in failure. There can be customer-centric reasons like no money in account. Sometimes, customer gives a berth preference and it takes time for the system to find a particular berth. By that time a ticket may already be booked. We have already identified 7 to 8 issues. The aim is to reduce the time taken for each transaction.
What are the steps IRCTC is taking to reduce this transaction time?
We are looking at a rolling deposit system in which customers can deposit advance money into an account. They won’t have to go to a payment gateway then. They would not have to wait for two minutes for using the netbanking operations. I have put forward this challenge to our technologists and the systems architecture for it is being worked out. Also, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation works with the Ministry of Railways on a system of advance money. Every day I deposit about Rs 50 lakh in the bank account of Indian Railways — advance money for the tickets I will buy from them that day. We are extending the same system for other websites such as MakeMytrip.com and Yatra.com to book rail tickets, which will ease the load on our site.
Why customer’s money is not instantly credited back after a failed transaction?
After a failed transaction, a report goes back to the bank that a transaction has failed but money has been deducted. The banks make a report and send it to us. It takes 2 to 3 days. We release the money as we get the report.