LAHORE, Pakistan: Train passengers can now use a mobile phone App to obtain tickets in the unreserved category as the Pakistan Railways has introduced paperless ticketing from Monday.
“We are launching a mobile-based paperless ticketing application today,” said Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq.
Talking to the media after inaugurating the mobile App system at the Railways Headquarters in Lahore, he said that having booked a ticket using the App, a commuter need not take a printout of the same and could show its soft copy on the cellphone to the ticket checker on train.
“Apart from being a green initiative, the paperless ticketing system will also save time of passengers as it allows them to avoid lining up at the ticket window,” he added.
The minister said that as per the plan, one might download the App from the Google App store for Android-based mobile phones.
After the download, he said the user would get a registration ID number for creation of a railway e-wallet.
“Money for buying tickets will have to be loaded through the e-wallet mobile payment system either online or at a ticket counter at any station,” he said.
It is pertinent to mention that the App would be available for cellphones running on the Android operating systems.
Khawaja Saad Rafiq maintained that initially online ticketing system had been introduced in 48 trains enabling passengers to book their seats from anywhere in Pakistan. He said that no additional charges would be charged for online ticketing. He said that negotiations with companies providing cab services were in progress regarding provision of cab facilities to passengers to reach the nearby railway station.
To a query, the minister said that since the launch of e-ticketing on October 3, 2016, the department had earned Rs 60 million from this service. He said that a project to transform 300 economy class coaches was in the offing and feasibility had been prepared. He said that refurbishining of 120 economy class coaches would also be completed during the next four months. He said that in the history of Pakistan, hooper wagons would be run for fast transportation of coal for Sahiwal Coal Power Plant.
The minister dismissed an impression that coal was stolen from wagons carrying the commodity to Sahiwal Coal Power Plant. He clarified that some holes led to leakage of the coal which he said was in powdered form.
He said that railway track was being upgraded under Chine-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) after which trains would operate at the speed of 160-kilometre per hour. He maintained that the Railways department was offering some important tracks to be built under BOT (Build-Own-Transfer) basis and in this regard an Expression of Interest was on the final stage.
Saad Rafiq said that the government has targeted upgradation of 21 railways stations in the country with a total outlay of Rs 19056 million to be spent during the next three years.
He said that the China had expressed a commitment to upgrade Peshawar-Karachi rail line by 2020 under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project.