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How Big Data is Revolutionising Indian Railways to Ease the Pain of getting Tatkal Ticket
If we talk about the most comfortable means of transport in India, then without a thought we would say “Railways” or the “Train”. Yeah, that’s right, the journey through train is considered the most comfortable yet cheapest means of transport.
Let’s get back to earlier days when the first train journey happened in 1853. The first train journey took place between Bori Bunder (Bombay) ad Thane in which a fourteen carriage long train was drawn by 3 locomotives. The journey covered a distance of 21 miles.
Over the last 160 years, Indian railway has encountered drastic change. It has created a niche for itself for being the second largest rail network in the world with 115,000 km of track and 19,600 odd trains. Indian railways has in its service more than one million people and carries over 23 million people every day.
Railway is losing its touch
It’s a bitter fact that railway is losing its Midas touch gradually. The appearance of low fare airlines and betterment of roadways as well as preference for buses and other vehicles for smaller routes has created an intense competition.
Indian Railways has also been under the radar for its e-ticketing system. The IRCTC site is one of the most frequently visited site, but the navigation is far from being streamlined. The IRCTC website still looks like a site created in early 2000s due to frequent server errors and sluggish speed.
And, the always being on one’s top critical list, the “Tatkal ticket booking system” is like a disease, which cannot be cured. The process of getting a Tatkal ticket via Indian Railway’s sluggish system the most complicated yet stressful task ever. The server seems going in coma just a few seconds before 10 AM, and resurrect when every seat has been booked.
Solution to Railway’s Sluggish Performance
Now the question that pops out is what can be done in this regard to prevent slow speed and pull it back on the track?
Here, the one and only solution to this problem is Big Data.
If you think from a customer’s point of view, then the most apparent concern is ease of ticket booking. With reliable yet steadfast big data tools, it’s indeed possible to tackle more customer logging on the site. These customers should also avail a hassle-free experience while booking tickets online.
Measures to simplify it also include analysing the most frequented routes by passengers and facilitating them the required details hardly in ten seconds and getting an E-wallet option for all the account holders.
Data analytics will chomp historical transactions for a particular customer and pre-empty the train & seat numbers chosen by the customer, hence saving valuable time for those who travel a lot and often choose same trains or coaches.
Tweaking the Tatkal Mechanism
The mechanism of Takal ticketing has to be twisted in terms of technology implemented. With thousands of users logging in on the site at the same time, it’s obvious that the system handles such shocks without being crashed. The in-memory ability of such cases has to be increased so that the transactions do not roll out in critical Tatkal hours.
Steps taken by Indian Railways to Improve the Situation
Well, the good news is that Indian Railways have been working on this problem since long time back and now have taken certain steps to improve the scenario. They are about to employ CRIS (Centre for Railway Information systems) for giving a face lift to the IRCTC website. The CRIS based their latest technology on Pivotal GemFire, which is a distributed in-memory database a division of Pivotal Big Data Suite.
The resulting system was checked for a month & then officially introduced in July 2014. The system has brought improvements to the stats considerably, with the load limit going up to 10000 from 2000 per minute. Time taken to book a ticket has been cut down by great fraction and the user verification is done from in-memory data.
Yet, there is a lot of improvement still pending. Tatkal tickets aren’t a cup of coffee to get while working with the sluggish speed of IRCTC website. The duty is on the authorities to not to let it fade away, and get Indian Railways back on the track that it should be.
So, we hope that the next stoppage of Indian Railways would be the Big Data
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