LAHORE - Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq on Monday launched Pakistan Railways mobile App system, introducing a paperless ticketing, facilitating the passengers to use their mobile phone App to get tickets in an unreserved category.

Talking to the media after the launch here at the Railways Headquarters, the minister informed that initially online ticketing system had been introduced in 48 trains, enabling passengers to book their seats from anywhere in Pakistan.

He further said railways losses had reduced to twenty-seven billion from thirty-two billion rupees in 2013.

He added new hopper wagons were being run for fast transportation of coal for Sahiwal Coal Power Plant.

“Pakistan Railways and United Bank Limited (UBL) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to issue E-ticketing to people,” he said, and added, “Now the passengers would be able to book their tickets though internet and mobile phones.”

The charges for the tickets could be paid through credit cards, debit cards, mobile banking accounts and UBL Omni.

He said that negotiations with companies for providing cab services to passengers were in progress so that they could reach the nearby railway station on time.

To a query, the minister said that since the launch of e-ticketing on October 3, 2016, the department had earned Rs60 million from this service.

He informed that a project to transform 300 economy class coaches was in the offing and that feasibility report had been prepared. “Refurbishing of 120 economy class coaches would also be completed during the next four months,” he added.

Saad said that for the first time in the history of Pakistan, hopper wagons would ply for the fast transportation of coal for Sahiwal Coal Power Plant.

He further said that Railways was offering some important tracks to be built under BOT (Build-Own-Transfer) basis and in this regard an Expression of Interest was in the final stages.

The minister also informed that the government had targeted the upgradation of 21 railway stations in the country with a total outlay of Rs19056 million to be spent during the next three years.

“China has expressed commitment to upgrade Peshawar-Karachi rail line by 2020 under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,” he disclosed.