The Indian Railways is a massive machine. One of the world’s largest employers with about 1.4 million employees, it has its own annual budget, its own union minister, and makes all the rules to run the 12,617 trains that move India’s billion-plus population.
Now, consider the scope and the fact that the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), a partner to the Indian Railways which handles online ticketing operations, has a monopoly on bookings. More significantly, a monopoly on the sale of 284 million tickets a year. It’s no joke.
Payments companies, OTAs can’t escape the IRCTC bogie-man
Payment apps and aggregators need IRCTC for train bookings. IRCTC needs them for new revenue streams. But when it comes down to business, the two don’t see eye to eye
OTAs and payment apps see IRCTC’s users as its prized next set of users
IRCTC is under pressure to find new revenue streams as it is smarting from a Rs 500 crore revenue loss
IRCTC’s new pricing policies will bring in more revenue but it makes it a very costly business even for well-funded OTAs and payment apps
IRCTC, being the monopoly it is, knows it has the upper hand in this relationship