There are two modes of online booking available in IRCTC website. These are I-Ticket and E-Ticket. Passengers general opt for E-Ticket without bothering to know the basic differences, benefits and/or positive/negative features of I-Ticket and/or E-Tickets.
I-Ticket can be purchased online but it is delivered at customer residential address in 2-3 days time. I-Ticket need to be booked at least 2 days in advance. I-Tickets are issued for Waiting List, Confirmed and RAC cases. I-tickets are always delivered at the customer's shipping address provided at the time of user registration. If for any reason the customer is not available to collect then he or she can authorize another person to collect ticket on his or her behalf but the collecting person must have an authority letter from the customer to do so. After the ticket is delivered at your doorsteps you need a copy of Voter's ID Card, Passport or any other ID Card out of the following ID proofs to validate the address on the I-Ticket:
- Voter Photo identity card issued by Election Commision of India.
- Passport issued by GOI
- PAN Card issued by Income Tax Department.
- Driving Licence issued by RTO.
- Photo identity card having serial number issued by Central/State Government.
- Student Identity Card with photograph issued by recognized School/College for their students.
- Nationalized Bank Passbook with Photograph.
- Credit cards issued by banks with laminated photograph.
- Unique Identification Card "Aadhaar Card".
- Photo identity cards having serial number issued by Public Sector Undertaking of State/Central Government, District Administration, Municipal bodies and Penchant Administration.
The railway charges a minimal service amount and one can pay online through credit or debit cards.
I-Ticket can not be cancelled online and the passenger has to compulsorily visit the reservation counter. I-Ticket is similar to Ticket booked at Reservation Counter and you are just saved of waiting in the long queues to get the reservation done from the comfort of your home. IRCTC charges a service charge of Rs.40/- per ticket in case of Second Class and Sleeper Class tickets and Rs.60/- per ticket in case of tickets of other classes.(These charges are not per passenger) Apart from this service charge of IRCTC, transaction charges as notified will be levied by the banks for each transaction
An e-ticket can be booked up to the time of chart preparation for your train. To book an e-ticket on Internet at IRCTC website you have to enter your ID proof details like PAN Card, Voter’s ID card, Passport, Ration Card, Central/State Govt. ID Card or Driving License. After booking just take a printout of the Electronic Reservation Slip and carry it during travel with the ID proof. To save papers and forests, now IRCTC has allowed showing email/SMS or downloaded copy of e-Ticket on your smartphone. Now the penalty of Rs.50 for not carrying the electronic reservation slip has been done away with by IRCTC. E-tickets can be cancelled only through internet. Cancellation will be confirmed online and the money will be credited to the same back account. E-ticket - The user can take a printout of the Electronic Registration Slip (ERS)
Online ticket Booking Rules
- For normal I-Ticket, booking is allowed at least two clear calendar days in advance of journey date.
- For e-Ticket, booking can be done up to chart Preparation approximately 4 to 6 hours before departure of train. For morning trains with departure time up to 12.00 hrs charts are prepared on the previous night.
- Opening day booking (90th day in advance, excluding the date of journey) will be available only after 8 AM, along with the counters.
I-Ticket and E-Ticket Advantages
- Online Ticket Purchase is not only easy but it saves your money by cutting down the the role of middle men/ brokers/ agents
- Forget about long queues in a station for booking tickets. Now customer can book tickets sitting peacefully in office or home on IRCTC site on the Internet.
- Now SMS Based Ticket purchase option is also in service where by customer can buy ticket using SMS service.
- This facility facilitates confirmed/Waitlisted E-tickets to passengers on payment of premium on ‘first come first served’ basis in all mail/express trains including Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Jan Shatabdi Express trains.
- 1AC is not supported by Tatkal bookings.
- You are not required to carry any identity proof either at the time of booking or during the journey, if you make reservation under tatkal scheme.
- There will be no separate Tatkal train defined. The unutilised Tatkal quota will get released to waitlisted passengers.
- In those trains and in those classes where average utilisation of Tatkal accommodation during peak period i.e. April to September is 80% and above, Tatkal charges applicable during peak period will be charged throughout the year i.e. for both peak and non-peak periods.