Kawsar Ahmed, who works for a private company, came to the Kamalapur Railway station at 4.00am to buy two tickets for AC coaches of Nilsagar Express.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, he said, “Tickets for AC coaches are not available at the ticket counters. They are not available online either. I tried online on Friday, but couldn’t get any tickets for AC coaches. After selling to the first 10 to 12 people in the queue, the people at the counter say all the tickets for AC coaches are finished.”
He questioned, “How could all the tickets for AC coaches be finished within just 15 minutes?”
At around 2.00pm, some 20 to 25 ticket aspirants went to the office of the station manager. They had come to the station on Friday night. After waiting for hours in the queue they went to the station manager’s room to complain. They left the room after the station manager kept their national identity cards (NID) and assured them of giving tickets.
Allegations of not getting ticket online
Shahriar Arefin, a second year student of Saint Joseph Higher Secondary School, came to Kamalapur Railway station from Farmgate late on Friday night and stood in the queue to buy tickets.
He alleged that he couldn’t buy any ticket online or from the counters. The sale of tickets started at 8.00am in the morning and Shahriar logged into the server right at that moment while standing in the queue. But it took him 26 minutes to log into the server. All the tickets for AC coaches online were finished by then. The tickets for AC coaches were not available at the counters either.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, Shahriar said, “I needed two tickets for AC coaches of the Nilsagar Express. Now I am returning with tickets for non-AC coaches.”
Kamalapur Railway station’s manager Mohammad Masud Sarwar said, “Sohoz.com is in charge of selling tickets online. We have contacted them and they said when all the people logged into the server at the same time around 8.00am, the problem appeared. That's why there was some delay in getting the ticket."
NID for train tickets
Roni Islam, an employee of a private company, will go to Kurigram. He arrived at the station on Friday evening. He could not get any ticket even after 2.00pm. Roni said, “Every year I come to buy tickets. This time NID card is required to buy tickets. At first they said NID cards would be needed to buy tickets. Later they said that one can buy a maximum of four tickets with one NID. This has caused confusion among many.”
The manager of Kamalapur railway station said that they are trying to ensure that the tickets do not go outside the counters or fall into the hands of black marketers. There is no chance of getting tickets anywhere else.
Asked whether the passenger's birth certificate or national identity card would be verified during the journey, he said the officials at the station would confirm it. Passengers must keep a copy of NID while traveling. Sale of tickets has slowed down a bit as the tickets are being issued after taking the NID numbers.
Return train tickets will be on sale from 1 May. According to the railway authorities, a total of 27,853 tickets were sold at five places in Dhaka including Kamalapur on Saturday. Of these, 12,157 were sold online and 15,696 were sold at the counters.
According to the Kamalapur station authorities, tickets for the entire western and Khulna-bound trains are being sold at Kamalapur station. Tickets for Chattogram and Noakhali-bound intercity trains are available at Dhaka Airport station and tickets for all intercity trains in the region, including Mymensingh and Jamalpur-bound Dewanganj Special express, are available at Tejgaon station. Tickets for Mohanganj and Haor Express trains are being sold at Dhaka Cantonment Station and Sylhet and tickets of Kishoreganj bound intercity trains are being sold at the old Fulbaria Railway Station.
Less crowd in Chattogram on the first day
According to our staff correspondent in Chattogram, the crowd at Chattogram station was less on the first day of the sale of advance tickets. People were able to collect tickets without waiting for long. In addition to advance tickets, regular train tickets were also sold.
Chattogram railway station manager Ratan Kumar Chowdhury told Prothom Alo that there was not much crowd at the station counter on the first day of the sales. No one had complained to them about any hassle getting tickets online.