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1.1 Background of the Study
In the advanced world like China, Britain, Australia and the United State of America, ticketing system are usually automated with the use of internet and e-commerce. Smart cards are usually used to make payment and ticket generated after. The use of electronic ticketing system has increasingly helped to address the problem of long queue and time wastage problem.
An electronic railway ticketing system is a computerized system that is designed to collect, store and retrieve information as well as conduct transactions related to passengers and trains. The idea behind a web-based railway ticketing and payment system was originally designed and incorporated by airlines operators.
E-tickets or card indicates that its holder has right to a specified service, right or consideration. Electronic tickets (e-tickets) give evidence that their holders have permission to enter a place of entertainment, use a means of transportation, or have access to some internet services (Wee Kim Li, 2007). E-ticket system is an easy and quick way to pay for train services. Electronic ticketing is a way of documenting sale, checking ticket usage and accounting for a passenger's transportation without the traditional usage of paper “value documents”. Passengers can make payment and print their e-tickets ubiquitously. Railway ticketing system is an essential system designed to address the problem of long queue and unnecessary time wastage associated with railway ticketing. Ticket counter is generally associated with long queue; the problem is so clear and visible that it demands an urgent step in addressing the situation. Aside from the problem of long queue and time wastage, passengers also experience stress and frustration. Reasons for the long queue that is associated with the traditional railway ticketing includes the limited counters available to deal with passengers at peak time and transaction time (the time it takes the person at the service point to issue ticket and handle the "change" problem).
Making payment online saves time as payment can be made anytime around the world. It also gives the railway corporation insight into what logistics will be needed for each journey. The aim of the system is to make railway ticketing quick, easy and less frustrating. The system attempts to reduce the service time of checking route and obtaining train ticket.
The System will make it possible for railway customers to manage
their payment electronically, and the administrators to work on the
databases in a user friendly manner. The customers are to register
online before getting access to the database. Once a user is registered,
the user has an account which the user can use for query. The user can
check availability of railway service for a particular day, make payment
and print the electronic ticket. The user account will contain adequate
information about the user entered during the registration and will
also allow the user to get access to his previous transactions, make
enquiry about the travel fare, check availability of seats, make payment
and update his account. The railway administrator is required to login
using an administrative password, once the password is authenticated,
the administrator will have access to register another administrator,
modify all the information stored in the database of the system. The
information stored in the database will include; description of the
train stoppages attributes and statistics of stations, and physical
description of coaches, all the reservations that have been made, etc.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The current system that the railway corporation make use of is an internal system (counter system). The counter system can only service all customer need from one point. Passengers will have to go to the counter in order to make enquiry, check train schedule and purchase their travel pass. The passengers will have to stay on the queue for long hour before been attended to. This counter system of attending to customers gave rise to a number of problems, some of which are;
i. Inefficient customer service which leads to long queue during peak period (productive time is wasted on the queue).
ii. Business manager lacks the capacity to provide specialized service because they don’t have real time information.
iii. Poor financial management.
iv. No customer database.
1.3 Aim and Objectives of the Study
The aim of the project work is to develop a system that will handle railway ticketing process electronically. This is achieved by the following objectives;
i. To analyze the existing system and determine its weaknesses.
ii. To design a system that allows railway passengers to check train service availability and obtain ticket electronically.
iii. To design a system that will reduce the cost of management associated with railway ticketing.
1.4 Scope of the Study
The scope of this project is to design a system that provides railway passenger with adequate information, register the personal data of the intending passenger, allow passenger to check train service availability and also make payment electronically.
1.5 Limitation of the Study
The system is limited to checking railway service availability, electronic payment and e-ticket generation. The system will not handle reservation without payment.
1.6 Significance of the Study
It is expected that the design and implementation of a system to automate railway ticketing will unveil the potentials of IT in rail transportation. The benefit of the system will be looked at from two perspectives;
1.6.1 Significance of the system for the Railway Service Operator
i. Better control of revenues
ii. Gain new customers with modern approach
iii. Reduce operation and maintenance costs
iv. Increased speed at boarding once the delay in transaction (ticketing process) has been removed.
v. Valuable opportunities to add “new services”.
1.6.2 Significance of the system for the Passengers
i. Easy way to purchase their travel pass
ii. Convenient as it can be done by anyone and anywhere with an internet connection
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
The following are the definitions of some of the basic terms used in the study:
i. Railway: A track made of steel rails along which trains run. A railway is also a network of tracks with the trains, organization, and the personnel required for its working (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary).
ii. Passenger: A person who is traveling in a car, bus, train, plane or ship and who is not driving it or working on it (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary).
iii. Ticketing: The process of producing and selling tickets/slot for an event, service or sport game (Macmillan Dictionary).
iv. Ticket: A paper slip or card indicating that its holder has paid for or is entitled to a specified service, right or consideration (www.thefreedictionary.com).
v. Availability Checking: Availability checking is the process of checking if train service will be available for a particular day.
vi. Railway Electronic Ticketing System [RETS]:This is the system that handles railway ticketing process using computer and the web.
vii. Train: A train is a railway/railroad engine pulling a number of carriages or trucks, taking people and goods from one place to another (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary).
viii. Train Schedule: A well define plan that defines the time and date a train will depart a station and the date and time the train will arrival at the destination station.
ix. Route: A fixed way along which a train travels or goods are regularly sent (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary).
x. Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC): Nigeria Railway Corporation is the state-owned enterprise with exclusive rights to operate railways in Nigeria.
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