Train passengers will now find it easier to make online payments for the food ordered through e-catering with Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) entering into a tie-up with Paytm, a leading payment and e-commerce shopping website.
"We have roped in Paytm for providing maximum option to passengers for making online payments. Efforts are also underway to bring in some more reputed caterers in our e-catering portfolio," said IRCTC Chairman and Managing Director AK Manocha.
Travelling passengers will have an array of choices for making payments for e-catering like prepaid (online payment) or cash on delivery (CoD) as per their convenience.
"Our tie-up with Paytm will provide an additional payment gateway for food of their choice. In the new age, we have to offer passengers not only novel food options but also more convenient payment methods. The arrangement with Paytm is an effort in that direction," he pointed out.
IRCTC, a PSU of Indian Railways, clocks 5.5 to 6 lakh e-ticketing bookings daily, on an average. "We send an e-mail to travelling passengers one day in advance to know whether they would like to avail of e-catering facility. Food can also be ordered on our website while booking reservations," he said.
In order to popularise our operations, IRCTC has created a user-friendly website and has been sending SMS, e-mail to all e-ticket passengers.
For e-catering facility, known as "Food on Track", IRCTC has already tied up with online delivery firm Food Panda, enabling consumers to order from a variety of cuisine options.
"We are in talks with several other reputed catering companies and fast food giants like McDonald's, Bikanerwala, Nirula's, Sagar Ratna, Wangs Kitchen, Sarvana Bhavan and Bittu Tikki Wala," he informed.
IRCTC is trying to impanel food aggregators like Subway and Pizza Hut to expand catering choices for passengers. It has started website integration with Domino's Pizza for seamless order by rail travellers. Food Panda, which is already empanelled, will soon be visible on the IRCTC's website.
Currently, IRCTC provides e-catering facility in 1516 trains without pantry cars. In addition, it provides station-based "Food On Track" facility at 45 stations including Howrah, New Delhi, Chennai Central, Mumbai Central, Delhi, Bangalore City, Patna, Lucknow, Bhubaneswar, Madurai and Amritsar among others.
The e-catering facility allows passengers to order meals while travelling, either online on www.ecatering.irctc.co.in or by making a phone call to 0120-2383892-99 or the toll-free number at 1800-1034-139. They can also choose to do so through an SMS to 139 by giving details of their PNR and seat number.