Those who often travel by train know how difficult it may be to take the ticket in needed direction. Purchasing turns into steeplechase with several levels to pass.

Despite the fact that there are 49 booking officials functioning in the Central railway stations, the lines are still so long, that passengers have to spend about an hour to get a ticket. It's good if you ca manage to take the ticket in one bid. Sometimes it happens that a booking office goes on a break right before your face. Having waited in one line, have to join a new one, and nobody cares that you have already spent your share of time...

There is also a possibility to go to one of 75 functioning booking offices in Kyiv districts, but the ticket price there is 12.5 hryvnias more. For one person the sum is not that big, but for a family, return tickets will cost pretty penny.

How it usually happens

Ticket question always rises on the eve of holidays. "Tickets sold out" is usual phrase you hear when it is your turn to book. You do not stand a chance to get a vantage seat or any seat at all, if you don't come two-three weeks in advance, a month will be even better. Passenger flow increases twice on holidays, and the most popular destination points are western directions (Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Uzgorod)  and Crimea.

Services of "Intercity+" are not very popular among passenger, first of all because of high costs, comparing to regular trains, and secondly, because of tarnished image. A third-class seat in a regular train costs 100-120 hryvnias, and a second-class seat (the cheapest) in a Hyundai along costs 330 hryvnias. The first class seat price is 560 hryvnias. For the year of functioning of Korean trains, this service has been used by more than one million people, while the total number of passengers of Ukrzaliznitsya (Ukrainian railroad department) for the same year is 485.3 million passengers. The official statistics is definitely not in favor of Hyundai.

Despite the fact that the department reports stead growth of passenger flow in speedy trains, their seating rate is still lower than the one in regular trains - 35-40% in Lviv and Donetsk express trains and up to 51% in Dnipropetrovsk express. Kharkiv direction is the most popular, and the seating rate of express trains in that direction makes about 75-80%.

Pre-holiday boom

As for the coming May holidays, press office of Ukrzaliznitsya reports that the inland railroad service provides for 124 runs with more than 160 thousand seats, and international railroad service - 51 runs and more than 52 thousand seats.

However, there is always deficit of seats for Crimea and the Carpathians. In this respect, Ukrzaliznitsya has allocated additional 112 runs. "The total number of additional seats for passengers of railroad is about 100 thousand seats. Moreover, there are 45 runs, including 20 additional ones, for CIS directions. The biggest number of additional runs has been provided for Western directions - 55 runs, and Crimea - 40 runs," the press office reports.

It is impossible to give exact number of available seats left, as the information changes every minute.
Thus, as of April 23, 4 p.m., all tickets have already been sold out to Ivano-Frankivsk from Kyiv for April 30 and May 1. The same concerns Lviv direction. There are some seats available in first class and compartment coaches for May 2, but passengers should hurry, even expensive seats will not stay available for long.

The situation with Crimean direction is also sad - all tickets sold out to Simferopol from Kyiv for April 30 and May 1. There is a chance to get a ticket for April 29 or May 2, but again - hurry.

When will it be easier?

According to the statistics, not all passengers manage to leave in needed direction. Infrastructure Ministry blames it on worn-out fleet of trains. During one of the press conference minister Volodymyr Kozak said that Ukrzaliznitsya fleet of train required renovation, as 70% of trains were worn-out.

"For our trains to function properly, we need at least five thousand passenger cars taking into account summer transportation. As of today we have a little bit more than one million cars with air condition, the rest of the fleet was issued in 70-80s when air conditioning was considered unnecessary. We need a bunch of new modern trains," the minister said.

In turn, Ukrzaliznitsya assures that according to the National Action Plan for 2013 and Program of economic reforms for 2010-2014, the state budget will allocate means for purchasing 248 passenger cars, including 200 compartment coaches, 41 cars for disabled and 7 cars for transportation of detainees. Moreover, this year it is planned to repair 3455 passenger cars. The repair works will cost 566 388 hryvnias.

Well, only time can tell whether such measures will improve the quality of service on the railroad, and only passengers can estimate the level of quality of this service. Meanwhile, take tickets beforehand in order to "get on board".

Tetyana Matsur


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