Indian Railway (IR) is one of the largest rail operators in the world and carries around 23 million passengers per day. IR is one of the world's largest railway networks comprising 115,000 km of track over a route of 67,312 k006 and 7,112 stations. In 2014–2015, IR had revenues of US$25 billion which consists of US$17 billion from freight and US$6.7 billion from passenger tickets.
IR is currently running at operating ratio of 92%. It is important to highlight that bulk of revenue is generated from freight segment. In 2014-15, for every one Rupee earned in its passenger business, Indian Railways ended up spending INR 1.67. The Indian Railways earns just 1 cent from each passenger as against 9.4 cents earned by the Japan Railways, 6.7 cents by the Russian Railways, 6.2 cents by the Deutsche Bahn (German Railways) and 2.7 cents by the Chinese Railways (Source: World Bank study 2012).
It is important for IR to increase the revenue from passenger segment to improve operating ratio and to generate funds to invest in capital assets.
Ticket Booking Platform
Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) is managing two platforms to manage online booking
- Passenger Reservation System (PRS) is an IT-driven ticketing application for reserved travel on IR, provides reservation services to about 2 million passengers a day on over 2500 trains running throughout the country. The system currently operates from 4 data-centres (New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai). The system allows travelling public to reserve a berth on any train, between any pair of station for any date and class.
- Next-Generation E-ticketing (NGET) application is developed in-house on open-standards based technologies. NGET is a high-performing, secure and user-friendly E-ticketing site for reserved train enquiries and booking.
Role of Data Analytics
IR is collecting a huge data on daily basis about the journey pattern and travel behaviour of commuters. It is important that the ticketing system should not only facilitate ease of booking, but also strive for a better match of passenger demand with the train capacities and ticket prices, on different routes / sectors / classes to enhance revenues and to make better use of the available capacities.
Expression of Interest - Analytics-driven IT system
This is first time, IR is exploring the option to develop Data Analytics platform, which is integrated with PRS / NGET system. The system will help to dynamically and optimally match available capacity in reserved passenger trains with the unmet demand of passengers. Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), Indian Railways has invited Expression of Interest from companies to carryout data analytics tasks in September 2016. The final date of the submission was 15 December 2016.
Key tasks of new Data Analytics platform will include:
1. To maximize ticket sales to passengers who are unable to book confirmed tickets in their desired trains by providing them alternative combinations of trains/routes/classes
2. To develop a Decision Support System (DSS) for maximizing capacity utilization of reserved passenger trains
3. To develop a DSS for dynamic pricing
4. To develop a DSS for planning of extra passenger trains/coaches
5. To develop, operate, maintain and improve the above system, integrated with NGET/PRS, but without:
a) Degrading performance of the existing PRS/NGET system
b) Significant development work on part of CRIS
There were 9 companies which shown interest in the project and submitted pre-bid queries. However, the information related to actual numbers of bidders is not available.
1. Hitachi Consulting Software Services India Private Limited
2. Mastek Limited
3. Teradata India Pvt Ltd
4. Protiviti India Member Pvt Ltd
5. SAS Institute India Pvt Ltd
6. Microsoft Corporation India Pvt Ltd
7. Tech Mahindra Ltd
8. Ernst & Young LLP
9. PricewaterhouseCoopers Private Limited