At Cleartrip, we believe we took the train search experience a giant leap forward when we launched search and booking for Indian Railways trains. As a company dedicated to making travel simple, easing the planning, searching and booking process for trains is core to our mission. Today, we’re thrilled to announce that we’ve made things even easier–you can now check train schedules and availability using basic Internet chat.
Using the chat based search is fairly simple. To get started, you just send a message with your search query–make sure you specify at least your origin, destination and date of travel; in addition, you can also specify your class of travel. Don’t worry too much about the syntax, if it needs more information, it will ask you for what it needs. Here’s an example search:
Mumbai to goa 20 apr 2ac
In response, you’ll get a message with a list of trains for your search and availability status for each train.
To recheck availability for a train you like, just send a message with “avail ” followed by the train number, e.g.:
In response, you’ll get availability status for upto 6 days.
If you like what you see and want to book, then just type “book ” followed by the train number and date you want to book for, e.g.:
book 6345 22 apr
In addition to being our first automated chat based search, this also marks our first foray into natural language search for travel. So, do keep in mind that this ‘Trains chat bot’ is an experimental product of Cleartrip Research and may behave unexpectedly as computers often do. Also, we’re not completely thrilled with the display formats and messages yet, so those might be changing frequently over the next few days.
That said, we look forward to your feedback and we hope you love the simplicity. Give it a whirl, search trains via chat today.
Note: Currently, train search via chat is available for all Jabber compatible chat clients, including Google Talk, GMail, iChat and many more. A comprehensive list of Jabber clients is available here.