Govt losing huge revenue for train ticket touts

Published : 12 Dec 2023 08:44 PM
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The government is giving crores of taka to Bangladesh Railways (BR) every year and this subsidy bears no fruit in curbing black marketing of train ticket due to some dishonest rail officials.

The Ministry of Railways has announced that measures have been taken to curb black marketing of intercity train tickets. 

Uneducated low-income people are not aware of how to get tickets online. Taking this opportunity, the black marketeers have become active in Dinajpur.

According to a source, online intercity train tickets are being sold through computer composing shops in several areas, including the Dinajpur railway station area. All these computers shop owners have 20 to 30 SIM cards and national identity cards. 

As a result, it is learnt that there are no tickets as soon as the train tickets start being sold online. And these tickets are sold at higher price by black marketeers around the train station.

From there, the clients appear at the computer shops of their appointed syndicate. Then they tell the passenger that a ticket will cost Tk 700, even though an online ticket from Dinajpur to Dhaka costs Tk 485 only. The shop owners claim that the tickets cost higher price because of internet charges and other charges. 

If the passenger does not have a national identity card, they charge 1200 taka. The question is from where are they getting these unknown national identity cards and mobile numbers? 

Zakir Hossain, a Dinajpur-based doctor, travels to Dhaka by train at least four times a month. 

"I love to travel by train as it is safe, comfortable and affordable,” said Zakir. Of late, he has some complaints too.“Buying a ticket online is a big headache for me,” said Zakir. “It is not as easy as it was before.”

Talking to Bangladesh Post, he complained that he has to buy tickets from the black market as online tickets are not always available.

"Since I have to travel to Dhaka, I collect tickets from the black market at a slightly higher price,” he said.

“The railway authorities must look into this corrupt practice in the interest of the passengers,” Zakir suggested.

He echoed the feelings of many others who like to travel by train. They have a common complaint: a section of unscrupulous railway officials and employees are running a syndicate of black marketeers in selling train tickets. Many passengers also complained that though they do not find tickets at the ticket counters, they can buy those from shops near the station.The problem is they have to pay some extra bucks for this.

A good number of tickets are still available in the black market even though the whole system of ticketing has become digital.

After logging in on the scheduled time and not getting tickets online, many people go directly to the railway stations to buy tickets, said businessman Jashim Uddin, who travels from Dhaka to Dinajpur regularly.

He added that there is no end to the suffering. Most fail to book a ticket after standing in long queues for hours.

Some passengers also said that a strong syndicate has also been formed on social media which sells tickets using different online platforms at a high price.

Sagar Islam, a businessman in Dinajpur, is one of those who are often forced to buy tickets from the black market as these are not available either online or in counters.

He travels from Dinajpur to Dhaka for business purposes once a week.

“When I fail to get tickets legally I go to the black market,” he said. “This way I’m forced to pay the extra money and break the law as well.”