Ticket racketeering may get back on track, Shohoz fears

Ticket racketeering or selling tickets in the black market is a practice in many developing or underdeveloped nations of the world. Sectors like sports or transportation suffer the most due to this malfeasance. Getting train tickets in Bangladesh is no different, says a press release.

The government did take bold steps to prevent ticket black marketeering, implementing NID verification while registering on railway portal, supporting the slogan “Ticket Jar, Bhromon tar” given by the honorable minister at that time, which laid one of the major stones toward curbing ticket racketeering. While this was a big initiative, and it definitely reduced black marketing, it did not totally stop underhand sales.

Meanwhile, the private company Shohoz.com which had been contracted with selling tickets, was blamed for train ticket black marketing and the law enforcement authorities arrested some of their employees. The company has denied the charges and maintains that it is being blamed for train ticket racketeering that has been going on for years, before they even arrived on the scene, says the press release.

After Shohoz.com took over the railway ticketing system, it introduced ticket verification onboard the trains using POS devices through QR code scanning, which are present on tickets, and can easily prevent tampering with the tickets. This mechanism also fails if the photo ID cards are not validated.

The quality of service being offered by Shohoz.com, due to which today the people of Bangladesh can buy 100% tickets of railway online anytime from anywhere securely, had been widely recognised. Railway passengers delighted with hassle-free ticketing, security at station, praising the rail ticket management system, the Secretary of the Railway Ministry Md Humayun Kabir said, "The passengers were able to purchase their tickets with ease as we implemented a 100% online ticketing system for the second consecutive Eid. Not a single complaint of inconvenience was reported, and we have successfully put an end to black marketing of tickets."

This would have been simply impossible for any other service provider than Shohoz, who holds a decade of ticket selling experience as well as digitizing one of the most unorganized transports (bus) sector in the country.

Shohoz.com has reportedly sold more than 4 crore tickets through their railway ticketing platform till date. This would not have been possible if the company focused on ticket racketeering and not service quality.

For the first time in the history of railway tickets, Shohoz was able to introduce online refunds against ticket cancellations, ensuring a better customer experience and convenience. Now train tickets can be bought 10 days in advance as compared to 5 days earlier beside the online tickets being available 24/7, which was available from 5 am onwards only earlier. To make the ticketing system secure and prevent fraudulent activities, the refunded seats do not become available instantly. They become available randomly from time-to-time, so that nobody can guess the right time to re-purchase them. Similarly, the release time of blocked seats has also been made random, so that the ticket availability time cannot be guessed by users. This step clearly upholds the spirit of Bangladesh Government’s motive of creating a ‘Smart Bangladesh.’

The latest move of Shohoz has been to introduce the OTP system in online train booking, which makes it absolutely impossible for the ‘blackers’ to use someone else’s phone number, as the OTP code will be directly sent to the actual customer’s registered mobile number who is trying to book the tickets online.

Shohoz has introduced huge transformation to assist Bangladesh Railway to provide quality service to their customers while crafting the map of “Smart Bangladesh,” by digitalizing the ticketing landscape of the most convenient transportation system of Bangladesh.

Unfortunately, there are elements unhappy with Shohoz's performance as it has curbed their underhand selling to tickets in the black market. This syndicate has lost its illegal revenue the share they would get from the black market. These syndicate people would like to bring back old vendors who blatantly were involved in black and helped them make money. If Shohoz leaves, the railway will fall back to the dark era of all black marketeering and no tickets available online, the press release said.