Send SMS for train tickets

January 30, 2010

Bangladesh Railway will introduce SMS ticketing service through mobile phone next month to ease sufferings of commuters.
“Initially, the service will be launched on the Dhaka-Chittagong route. If successful, it will be expanded to the countrywide rail network. All necessary technical aspects have been checked and duly completed. We hope to launch the service at the end of February,” said BR Joint Director General (operations) M Shahjahan, reports The Daily Star
BR is the first organisation to introduce SMS ticketing in the subcontinent, the BR joint director general said.
Anyone can book seats and transfer credits for buying tickets by sending SMS from anywhere in the country. On completion of credit transfer, the customer will receive an SMS notification with a transaction ID number, said the official.
The software used for the service will allow mobile phone companies to check automatically whether the customer has enough credit to his or her cell phone account and deduct the amount of the fare from it.
Before boarding a train, passengers can obtain tickets from designated booths at train stations by showing the notification.
The task has been outsourced to CNS Limited, a private company. Contracts between the CNS and mobile phone companies have already been signed, the official said.
Ten percent of the total number of tickets will be reserved initially for SMS ticketing and CNS will pay the BR in advance, he said.
He said passengers can get information about intercity trains running on different routes, ticket fares for a train to a particular destination and availability of seats on a desired train by sending SMS to a specific number. They can also get train-delay schedules of seven important stations.
The same information will be available on the Internet. The BR online database will be used for the SMS ticketing service.
About 53.8 million passengers now use railway service annually. Over 40, 000 people travel to and from Dhaka through the Kamalapur Railway Station daily.
A total of 48 intercity trains, eight commuter trains and eight mail expresses operate from Kamlapur daily. The BR has 259 daily passenger train services across the country.
Thousands of homebound people go through hassles to buy train tickets before Eid every year.
On the eve of the Eid day last year, about 37,000 people left the capital by trains, said BR officials.

Courtesy of The Daily Star

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