Despite claims of IRCTC launching application based rail ticketing on mobile, there’s no clear indication of how they’re doing. Meanwhile, Bangladesh Railway has taken the telco route for mobile ticketing: commuters in Bangladesh can now reserve train tickets 10 days in advance over their mobile phone through Grameenphone’s Mobitaka service. Importantly, the payment can be done by using the balance in the user’s Mobitaka account.
Grameenphone has a base of 23 million telephone connections out of a total of 50 million telephone connections (wireless and fixed) in the country. Telenor owns 55.8 percent in the Bangladeshi telecom operator.
The service has been launched in collaboration with Computer Network Systems (CNS) Limited, the Bangladeshi equivalent of IRCTC, which took over the computerized reservation and ticketing system of Bangladesh Railway in 2007.
Mobile ticketing service will initially be offered for all Inter-city trains starting from Dhaka Kamlapur, Dhaka Airport and Chittagong stations, and gradually all other intercity trains will be included under this service. To book a ticket users will have to access a menu from his mobile phone and feed in the travelling information. After that the user can choose to either book the tickets for a stipulated time period or purchase immediately if the seats are available. A digital train ticket number will be sent to his mobile via SMS which can be used to obtain a paper-based ticket from the train station at the time of travel. A service fee of BDT 20 per seat will be charged along with the ticket cost.
According to The Daily Star, an average of about 53.8 million passengers avail railway service in a year in Bangladesh. Over 40,000 people travel to and from Dhaka through Kamalapur Railway Station each day.