1 2014 TCV Analysis of Bangladesh Railway E-Ticketing System Access to Information (a2i) Programme
2 Bangladesh Railway E-Ticketing Service 1.1 Problem Statement Bangladesh Railway, a principle transportation agency of the country, started its journey in this part of the sub-continent in It is a Government owned and Government managed organization. The organization is fully committed to providing safe, reliable, cost effective and time efficient rail transport service in the country. However, with the rise in population and the continuously evolving domain of transport in this sub-continent, the organization at times, struggled to cope with the demand from its customers. Many a time, disgruntled passengers were heard complaining about paucity of tickets, long waiting periods at railway stations and harassment by ticket scalpers. At one point, procuring train tickets became a hassle-ridden chore for passengers, especially for those who needed to travel on a regular basis. Keeping true to its vision to modernize, expand and maintain the rail system in a manner which supports government strategies for economic, social and environmental development, Bangladesh Railway, in collaboration with the Access to Information (a2i) programme being implemented by the Prime Minister s Office, with technical support from UNDP and USAID, launched the Bangladesh Railway E-Ticketing Service on May 29, This online e-ticketing service managed to serve the dual purpose of contributing to the realization of the Digital Bangladesh vision by bringing services to people s doorsteps and improving customer satisfaction by reducing time, costs and visits involved in procuring train tickets. Purchasing tickets through Internet is a convenient way to travel with Bangladesh Railway. Passengers can now buy their tickets online using their credit or debit cards. They only need to bring a printout of the e-bill to show at the e- booths at the stations and collect the actual travel ticket. The whole process takes about 20 minutes and there are no additional or hidden costs involved. 1.2 Objective of the Study The overall objective of this present study was: To appraise the general perception about Bangladesh Railway E-Ticketing Service. To determine the amount of time saved on average, if any, by passengers in the e- ticketing system. To determine the amount of cost saved on average, (in terms of transport fare, food and other costs), by passengers, in the e-ticketing system. To determine if the number of visits to the railway stations required by passengers have fallen in the e-ticketing system.
3 1.3 Methodology A purposive sampling method was used to conduct this study. A rapid assessment survey was carried out in Kamalapur Railway Station among 55 randomly selected passengers, who came to collect the travel ticket from the e-booth at the station. The respondents were surveyed based on a pre-structured questionnaire. The questionnaire was designed to establish the average time, costs and number of visits involved in both the old and online systems. Data collection methods and tools for this Time, Cost and Visit (TCV) assessment include, oneto-one interview, information discussion, in-depth Interview (IDI) and case study collection. Secondary sources of data were obtained from Bangladesh Railway, and other relevant information sources were also used for qualitative and quantitative comparisons. 1.4 Study Findings Chart:1- TCV Comparison between Regular and E- tickets Time (Min) Cost (USD) Visit Regular Ticket E- Ticket Table-1 summarizes the findings obtained from the survey. In the online system, it takes passengers 8.29 minutes on average to buy the tickets online. Passengers travel to station, collect the ticket from the e-booth and board the train, so no more than one visit is ever required. Passengers incur a cost of USD 0.79 when purchasing e-tickets. On the other hand, it takes passengers minutes on average to buy the ticket directly from the counters at the stations. The time is generally spent waiting in long queues. The paucity of
4 tickets means passengers often find themselves returning empty handed after waiting in queues for hours due to counters running out of saleable tickets for the day. 46% of the respondents said they had to return without tickets one time or another. This requires passengers to make 3 visits on average to the stations. Understandably, these multiple visits drive up the costs to USD The findings show that there is a remarkable 85.08% decrease in waiting time when buying tickets online and 48.78% decrease in costs and 66.8% decrease in the number of visits. 1.5 Registration Process for the Bangladesh Railway E-Ticketing System Customers have to register only once to purchase e-tickets online. The registration process is very simple and user-friendly. The steps involved in registration are outlined below: Go to webpage Click on the tab 'Purchase e- 4cket' A new webpage will open Click on the tab 'Sign Up' on the new page A new webpage 4tled 'Create an Account' will open Provide the required informa4on and click on the 'Register' tab A new window will open saying 'Registra4on is Successful' A confirma4on from Bangladesh Railway will be sent to the customer's account. Open the and click on the link embedded in the message to complete the registra4on Once registration is complete, a passenger can buy tickets online any time. Any one passenger can buy up to 4 e-tickets at a time. The system of purchasing the e-ticket is also very simple. It involves only 9 steps:
5 Go to webpage Click on the tab 'Purchase e- 4cket' A new webpage will open Go to the 'Log- in' panel and log- in A new page will open. Click on the 'purchase e- 4cket' tab. Provide details of the travel and confirm purchase Pay for the 4cket via approved credit or debit card A sogcopy of the 4cket will be sent to the customer's account. Print the sogcopy and submit it to the e- booth to obtain the travel 4cket 15 minutes before boarding. 1.6 National Statistics: Since its inauguration in 2012, Bangladesh Railway has sold 2,039,224 tickets online. The organization has saved a staggering USD 1.6 million through the e-ticketing system. The total transaction for the e-ticket system was recorded at USD 10 million approximately till Recommendations/ Suggestions from Passengers During the survey, the passengers made the following recommendations and suggestions to further improve the quality of the e-ticketing service of the Bangladesh Railway: 58% respondents said a greater percentage of tickets should be sold online. (At present 10 percent of all train tickets are sold online). 54% respondents said they would prefer to take direct printout of the e-ticket and cut down the step of collecting the travel ticket from e-booths altogether 52% respondents said they would prefer to have more payment options 48% respondents said the system is not yet fully safe from ticket scalpers and touts and as such called for greater monitoring by the authorities. 48% respondents said Bangladesh Railway should increase the number of travel ticket collection points and e-booths at the stations. 75% of respondents also recommended upgradation of the server as it tends to lag during peak hours. 1.8 Conclusion Initiation of the Bangladesh Railway E-Ticketing Service has been a major social innovation. I00 percent of the respondents agreed that the system reduces time, costs and visits involved in
6 accessing the service. It brings services to citizens doorsteps and saves them a lot of trouble and hassle. The greater demand now is to automate the ticket procurement system of all government-owned transport systems. However, it should be noted here that the Bangladesh Railway e-ticketing System is not perfect. Apart from the frustrating fact that only a small percentage of tickets are made available online, the system suffers from technical glitches that keep it from being completely satisfactory. The requirement of credit/debit card details also discourages some passengers from purchasing tickets online. In this case the authorities can undertake more publicity programmes to inform the citizens about the system s security measures. There is also a demand for alternative payment methods as frequent commuters like students and individuals from lower and middleincome groups generally do not use bank credit or debit cards and as such do not benefit from the initiative.