While Pakistan Railways is at the forefront of government entities going in loss, it remains a popular method of travel in the country. To their credit, they have been slowly but surely trying to modernize. In a continuation of those efforts, they have released their own official Pak Railways app.
The app allows access to some of the features available on the website like searching for available trains and booking tickets but as we found out, it comes with its own share of problems as well.
When you first open the app, you’re greeted with the app logo at the start, followed by page that lets you register or sign in.
Registration Issues and Workaround
Registration for the app did not work for us. In some cases it would send the SMS code for verification but not the email verification code (note: you need both for registering) or vice versa. In our case, the app blocked access to registration completely as it would not register the phone number at all.
You can however access the app by tapping “Guest Sign In”. Doing so will take you to the main page of the app.
As we could not successfully register an account, access to “Tickets” option was blocked. You need an account to access it.
You can however access the other options on the app. When you tap the Timings option, you are taken to a list of trains. Here you can search for the train and view the timings and the route of the train.
Another option that worked well is the “Travel” option. You can tap on “Travel” from the main page and search for available trains and ticket costs. You will be required to enter the number of adults or children that need to travel with departure date as well as departure point and arrival point.
You are limited to tapping on the “+” and “-” signs to input the number of passengers which is a small but important detail which hinders user experience. You should have the option to input a number directly instead.
Searching for a train going from Rawalpindi to Lahore got us the above result. Its worth pointing out that the Pakistan Railways website works the same way and even displays the results in a similar manner.
The helpline option is pretty basic as it just basically dials the Pakistan Railways Helpline number for you. All you need to do is enter your city code and tap “Call Helpline”.
The Freight Option
The “Freight” option is unfortunately broken. You can input the commodity you need to transport with the departure and arrival points for the freight. Once you search for it, you always get the following error:
We tried using several different types of commodities with various departure and arrival destinations however we always ended up with this error.
The feedback option works normally and can let you share your suggestions with Pakistan Railways. You can tap on “complaint” to send a complaint as well.
Tapping on “Cleanliness” will open up a drop down list of possible complaints that you can send to Pakistan Railways. You can choose from the following options:
The design language is dated and devoid of any animations with flat buttons and an unappealing UI. Some may appreciate it as it provides simple and straightforward access to everything on the app but considering that this is 2017, we’d have liked for the app to follow modern design guidelines.
When you couple the design issues with problems like you can’t register from the app at all, it drastically lowers the value proposition of the app. We were limited to searching for trains and fares only. The Freight option didn’t work at all either.
To summarize, while Pakistan Railways should be commended for trying to make an effort to cater to smartphone users, we hope that they improve the app and make it actually usable.
Download the Pakistan Railway app on Google Playstore.