Train passengers outcry: Reduce hassle in Eid travel

EditorialProthom Alo illustration

Every year, passengers go through an awful hassle while going home on Eid. However there’s doubt about how much the people responsible for ending this hassle are performing their duty.

There’s a lack of both willingness and capability in this case. Although ministers and secretaries assure commuters of ease with various promises whenever Eid approaches, no reflection of that can be seen in reality.

While other times, passengers created huge crowds for advance tickets in all transportation including train, launch and bus before Eid, this time the picture is different.

Prothom Alo’s reporter going to different bus terminals in Dhaka found out that there wasn’t much crowds for advance ticket. Only a few passengers had come to collect tickets and complained that the bus owners were charging them extra.

The transport workers’ statement is different though. They claim they charge even less than BRTC bus at other times and compensate that by charging ‘regular’ fare during Eid. Which one is true?

While buses are struggling to find passengers ahead of Eid, there’s a battle going on for train tickets. This time 100 per cent tickets are being sold online. According to railway authorities’ decision, a total of 33,500 advance tickets of intercity train are being sold every day.

Standing tickets will be sold equaling one-fourth of the total seats in non-AC coaches. Sell of return tickets will start from 3 April. Tickets are being sold through Bangladesh Railway website ( and mobile app.

On Wednesday morning, the fourth day of selling advance train tickets, an average of 600 people fought for each ticket in the first half an hour, said railway officials.  

About 15,000 tickets allotted for the western zone were sold out even before 2:00pm. Around 7,500 tickets of that zone were sold in the first 15 minutes of ticket sales. And, 13,000 tickets were sold at 10:30am.

From the demand it seems that at least 400,000 (4 lakh) tickets are needed every day for the people living in Dhaka and its adjacent areas alone. However, only a little over 30,000 tickets of railway’s intercity train are sold daily. Counting in mail, local and other trains, about 150,000 tickets are allocated for selling across the country.   

Acting director general of the railway, Sardar Shahadat Ali had said, “Eight pairs of special trains will be operating on Eid this year.” Why not 16 pairs? Every Eid, the railway authorities arrange for a few special trains which are really insufficient compared to requirement.

While passengers consider trains to be the safest and most cost-effective means of transport, the authorities have made no such effort to increase customer services.

Lack of money is mentioned as the reason behind this. But why the railway that has unused wealth worth billions of taka has to count an annual loss of Tk 20 billion (2,000 crore). Railway can become a self-sufficient organisation just by recovering its grabbed land and assets.

The number of trains can only be increased by ending the irregularities, corruption and black marketing of ticket in the railway. Those who had been railway ministers in the past couldn’t break the cycle of corruption, irregularities and waste in the organisation. If the current minister will be able to do it or not that’s the bigger question.

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