IRCTC website perennially down in the mornings

Have you tried logging on the IRCTC website at 8am to book tickets only to find a “Service unavailable” message? And, by the time you log in again and reach the ticket interface, all you get is a wait-listed ticket.

While most people face this problem, ticket agents and private travel websites, which have IRCTC as partners, have a faster interface.

Officially, IRCTC officials said, the website crashes in the morning due to heavy traffic and all tickets are waitlisted in two to three minutes.

But, the calculation is a little off. There are more than 12 lakh tatkal tickets available across the country and it is practically impossible that either all of them get sold so early in the morning or the railway servers are so fast that they are capable of selling lakhs of tickets within five minutes.

“Keep two computers of the same model with internet connection of same bandwidth. Log on to the IRCTC website from one computer and on a travel website with the IRCTC link on the other and try to book a ticket for the same destination. You will find that you get ticket booked through the private travel website, while the IRCTC website will either crash or would take time a lot of time to open,’’ a source said.

Most of the hacking tricks that offer software, scripts and add-ons allow people to start booking by 7.56am — four minutes before the official time so that the session continues and they complete the forms and enter the site at 8am on the payment gateway.

IRCTC joint general manager Pradip Kundu told DNA that they have put several measures in place, such as only two tickets can be booked between 8am and 10am and discontinuing the quick book option and cash cards between 8am and 9am.

“Captcha has been enforced and strengthened for booking in the Plan My Travel to check fraudulent booking through automation software,” he said.

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