More than two million passengers travel by the Indian Railways (IR) including tourists, regular and occasional passengers. Those planning a long-distance journey need a reserved berth in train for which a long queue can be seen on the reservation counters or window. These counters are also called PRS (Passenger Reservation System) where journey tickets are available physically. There’re different counters available for reserved ticket and unreserved ticketing. Apart from the ticket booking, there’re other counters like current reservation and inquiry counters completely flocked by travellers to get details on train running status or arrival and departure timings of trains. PRS system is operated via software called CRIS (Centre for Railway Information Systems) which allocates berth to the passengers as per the availability. In the digital era, the tickets can be booked online via the IRCTC website and passengers can also choose the best food options in train via food ordering apps and book food for train journey in advance.
Introduction of PRS in Indian Railways: History and Background:
The PRS was established in the Indian Railways through CRIS in the year 1986. It was set up in four major metro cities of India namely Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, and Delhi to serve the nationwide railway ticketing through computerized berth allotments. All the four PRS counters served for reservation service in the entire Indian Railway operated trains.
Major Functions of PRS Window:
The main function of the PRS window is to help the passengers to book train tickets in advance for making the passenger’s journey easy and comfortable. The PRS counters located at the railway junction tenders a requisition form to fill up the details of the passenger and facilitates computerized reservation on the basis of the provided information. In general, the PRS counters are also used for booking tickets in advance.
The process to Book Tickets via PRS Window:
Passengers have to fill the requisition form available on the booking premises. Once the form is duly filled correctly, it is handed over to the reservation clerk. The information is entered digitally in the software after which it displays the status of seat availability. In the final stage, the clerk confirms whether tickets have to be booked or not. If yes, then, the ticket is printed and handed over to the passenger after payment of the exact fair price. The person has to confirm the ticket details by taking a manual virtual tour of the ticket to verify the details printed on it. Here’re some of the details to be filled mandatory in the requisition form.
- Name and number of the train
- Date of the scheduled journey
- Boarding station (From)
- Destination station (To)
- Name/sex/age/berth preference
- Child details (if any):
- Return journey details (if planned)
- Booking time, date and complete address of the passenger along with the signature
- Reservation quota (General/ senior citizen / Yuva / student / ladies/ Defence etc.)
- Meal Preference: Available only for Rajdhani and Duranto trains.
These are specific details that one needs to fill in the reservation form in order to reserve tickets. Do not miss to carry your Government recognized identity proof such as Pan Card, driving license, Aadhar card, Voter ID card, or passport. The TTE will ask for a valid ID while checking tickets.
How to cancel your tickets via PRS Counter
Not only ticket reservation but cancellation is also done at PRS windows. Passengers who have to cancel their tickets because of any unavoidable reasons can do it offline. The passengers need to visit the nearest PRS window and fill the cancellation form along with the tickets generated. The amount is refunded after the deduction of cancellation charges specified by the railway authorities. The PRS tickets can also be cancelled through the IRCTC ticket booking website but the amount shall be collected from the origin station’s PRS counter only. The passengers can also cancel their train tickets through SMS services launched by the Indian Railway authority. To cancel, passengers need to type “CANCEL #(PNR NUMBER)#(TRAIN NUMBER)” and send it to 139. The tickets get cancelled after this process but the refunded amount shall be collected from the PRS window only.
Recommended Read: Ticket Refund rules by Indian Railways
To reduce the traffic at PRS counters, IRCTC, the ticketing wing of Indian Railways, facilitated the passengers through which they can book train tickets online. The passengers can also avail themselves of the other facilities online such as ordering food in train, check train availability, call for coach cleanliness, etc.
Here’re some Interesting Facts about PRS Windows:
- 15 Lakh Transactions a Day: The PRS counters carry out more than 15 lakh transaction in a day. This increases twofold during the festive season.
- Transactions are greater than passengers: A true fact! The number of transactions exceeds the number of passengers because of the high waitlisted ticket booking and cancellation rate.
- Network Dependent: The entire system is network-oriented.
- Coaching Refund System: Soon PRS is to be integrated with Passenger Reservation System.
- Break Journey: Though the system of break journey is partially shifted online, there’re certain formalities that have to be completed only via PRS counters and the station master.
- Defence Quota Rebate: Every train has a special quota allocated for defence personnel. Though the ticket can be booked online, to claim the rebate value, the personnel has to approach the MCO office with a valid Id.