Eid Journey: All advance train tickets to be sold online



Bangladesh Railway is going to sell all of the advance Eid tickets of intercity trains online.

The move aims at reducing the hassles people usually face for train tickets before and after the festival.

Tickets for trains on April 17 will be sold on April 7 and tickets for April 18, 19, 20 and 21 will be sold on April 8, 9, 10 and 11.

The decisions were made at an inter-ministerial meeting at Rail Bhaban with Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan in the chair, three participants of the meeting told The Daily Star.

The minister will brief reporters on the matter today.

Many have pointed out that the sale of all the tickets online is likely to deprive those who have little knowledge of using the internet.

The BR currently sells 50 percent tickets of the 104 intercity trains online and the rest at ticket counters. Tickets to all mail, commuter and local trains are sold at the counters.

Kamalapur Railway Station and several other major stations usually see large crowds waiting at counters for tickets ahead of Eid every year. Many people wait for 30 to 40 hours to get a ticket.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) recently asked the BR to raise the number of ticket counters to 30 to reduce people’s sufferings, railway sources said.

The BR primarily decided to open 10 counters at different places in the capital, but it changed the decision because it doesn’t have the capacity to run those.

The decision to sell all the advance tickets online was approved by the PMO, a BR official said, wishing not to be named.

The railway ministry has discussed the matter with its vendor Shohoz JV, the official added.

The latest decision will be implemented on a trial basis, said a top official of the ministry.

The ministry will launch a major publicity campaign regarding advance tickets, and if necessary, set up booths to help people sign up to BR online before the sale starts.

“We sent letters to all deputy commissioners mentioning that digital centres at the union parishad should help people register,” said the officer.

Contacted, Sardar Shahadat Ali, additional director general (operations) at the BR, said the meeting discussed how crowding at Kamalapur can be avoided.

“The next decision will be made after seeing the outcome of the trial,” he added.

A BR official told this correspondent, “After the meeting, we also held another meeting to discuss all relevant issues. We think many low-income people without knowledge about the system may not be able to buy tickets, if all the tickets are sold online.”

“We decided to tell the higher authorities to at least sell the tickets with no seats at the counters,” he said.

Saidur Rahman, executive director of Road Safety Foundation, said many people without internet access would not be able to buy tickets. The authorities should take steps against scalpers instead of making the system more complicated.

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