The ‘battle’ for Eid tickets online now

It’s not been long when the homebound people would come to the Kamalapur railway station to stand in the queue for advance train tickets ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr. They had to wait for a long time in the queue to get the tickets.

However, that scenario has changed with the advent of technology. Train tickets are now available online. Now people have to 'battle' online to get the tickets. Nearly 10 million hits (attempts to buy tickets online) were recorded in the first half an hour after the tickets went available online.

Even the advance bus tickets for Eid journey are available online now, which has curbed people’s suffering to a great extent. Although bus tickets are available at the ticket counters, there hasn't been that much rush there yet.

The Eid special launch service of the Dhaka-Barishal route will start from 6 April. There hasn’t been much rush for launch tickets from Dhaka as yet. The launch counters in the capital’s Sadarghat are largely empty.

The launch owners and workers say the passengers are preferring roadways after the inauguration of the Padma Bridge. As a result, there isn’t much pressure from passengers at the launch terminals.

Also Read

Meanwhile, most domestic air tickets for the days before and after the Eid day are already sold out. A significant portion of the passengers purchase tickets through credit cards or mobile banking services.

According to the relevant sources, all the economy class air tickets have been sold online or through apps days ago. The prices of the remaining unsold tickets have doubled or tripled.

A different sort of struggle for train tickets

Although all the train tickets are being sold online, that is not up to demand. The number of ticket-aspirants is quite higher than the number of tickets available online. In particular, some 600 people on average tried to buy one train ticket in the first half an hour after the tickets were released online.

Railway sources say tickets for 7 April were sold yesterday, Thursday. Some 9.4 million hits were recorded in the first half an hour after the sale of the train tickets for the western region started yesterday and more than 7.4 million hits were recorded within just 30 minutes after the sale of train tickets for eastern regions began yesterday afternoon.

The railway officials say the daily demand of train tickets at the moment is at least 400,000. However, a little more than 30 tickets are being released every day. As a consequence, many are not being able to buy tickets.

Also Read

Sumon Ahmed, executive manager of a private firm in the capital, is from Jamalpur’s Dewanganj. He always buys tickets for Teesta Express to go home on Eid vacation.

He said, “We used to go to the railway station in the night to be in the first row of the queue for train tickets. Even after that, we didn’t get tickets on several occasions. Now it is possible to buy advance train tickets online from anywhere. However, we sometimes face trouble logging in to the apps.”

Although all the train tickets are being sold online, that is not up to demand

The sale of advance train tickets for Eid-ul-Fitr this year started on 24 March and will continue till 30 March. This time, the Bangladesh railway authorities have designed the Eid schedule assuming 11 April as the Eid Day (depending on the position of the moon).

Dhaka Medical College student Tanazzatul Islam is going to Cox’s Bazar from Dhaka to celebrate Eid with family members and nearer ones. He bought advance tickets for 31 March on 24 March.

Speaking to Prothom Alo he said, “I didn’t have any trouble purchasing tickets online. Still 51 tickets were available when I logged in where it was very tough to get even one ticket in the past.”

The Bangladesh Railway has been selling all the advance train tickets online since last year. The railway authorities say the initiative has been taken to reduce public suffering and black market. Online service provider has been given the responsibility of selling tickets online.

However, many of the passengers complained that not everyone can get tickets online. They are struggling to buy tickets even when the tickets are shown to be available on the app.

Like trains, the advance bus tickets for Eid-ul-Fitr are also being sold online. As a result, there is not that much rush at the bus terminals

Officials of railway and are saying many are trying to buy the tickets for the same seats. So when one gets it, others fail.

60pc bus tickets online

Like trains, the advance bus tickets for Eid-ul-Fitr are also being sold online. As a result, although the sale of advance bus tickets has started, there is not that much rush at the bus terminals.

Speaking regarding selling tickets online Shyamoli Paribahan managing director and Bangladesh Bus-Truck Owners Association chairman Ramesh Chandra Ghosh told Prothom Alo the big companies are selling 60 to 70 per cent of the tickets online. The decision has been taken considering the hassles to get bus tickets from the counters. Besides, it’s saving the passengers from the additional cost to go to the bus terminals for tickets.

The agencies working on passengers’ rights have taken this initiative positively. Road Safety Foundation executive director Saidur Rahman said this initiative has greatly reduced the hassle of the passengers for tickets. However, the people who don’t have any device or don’t have the required technical knowledge to purchase tickets online must not get deprived of the service. The authorities should have strict monitoring to prevent digital black marketeering, he added.

* This report appeared on the print and online versions of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Ashish Basu