Fine-tuning of GPS, recharging ‘wallet’ online and an increase in awareness among suburban train passengers about the mobile UTS ticketing app have led to a drastic increase in the number of trips booked through the app introduced in 2014 December.

For the month of May, suburban train passengers who used the mobile app had made over two lakh trips along Chennai Beach — Chengalpattu, Chennai Central — Tiruvallur and Gummidipoondi and Mass Rapid Transit Sections.

Developed by the Centre for Railway Information Systems, the mobile app has come as a boon for commuters of suburban trains, particularly those who do not travel frequently.

The app helps commuters avoid standing in long queues at crowded stations like Moore Market Complex, Egmore or Tambaram, especially during peak hours.

The Southern Railway too has been aggressively promoting this option of using the app for commuters.

Since the app’s launch in December 2014, when it was restricted to the Tambaram – Egmore section, it has been gradually extended and now covers nearly 75 stations on the different routes.

“There is growing acceptability among suburban passengers. There has been continuous feedback and sharp criticism too. We are incorporating as many features as possible based on feedback,” said an officer of the Southern Railway.

Elaborating on this, he said the major complaint was that the GPS did not function properly on both Android and Windows platforms. “We have sorted this out. The GPS handshake [exchange of data] has now been made device-specific. Earlier, the mobile app would ask users to come to open space, even if they were standing in such spaces,” the official said.

Further, commuters earlier had to recharge the mobile app’s ‘wallet’ at the ticket counters, but now they can recharge it online, he noted adding that they are now working to get the mobile app compatible on iPhones.

In a year’s time, the Southern Railway targets 90 lakh trips to be booked by commuters through the mobile app. Meanwhile, commuters want the app to cover Tiruttani, Tirumalpur and Sulurpetta – the last stations on the different routes covered by suburban services.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/patronage-for-suburban-train-ticketing-app-on-the-rise/article8722614.ece