Ukrainians has a possibility to buy e-tickets for over a year already, but the majority of travelers still prefer the old method - going to the ticket book, because an online ticket must be anyway replaced with the regular one in a booking office window before boarding a train.

The procedure of online purchase, however, is simplified for Intercity+ trains and the train 37/38 Donetsk - Kyiv. Online tickets for these trains can be printed out at home together with the boarding pass, valid without any additional documents. Ukrzaliznytsya (state railway company) says online purchase will be implemented for other trains as well. The official website of the company reads that from August 3 online sale of e-tickets will be opened for electric trains Skoda Vagonka on routes Kharkiv-Simferopol-Kharkiv and Donetsk-Simferopol-Donetsk, and from mid-September till the beginning of December 2013 - for trains 12/11 Kyiv - Simferopol,  91/92 Kyiv - Lviv, 80/79 Kyiv - Dnipropetrovsk, 105/106 Kyiv - Odesa, 64/63 Kyiv - Kharkiv. On the whole, it is planned to introduce e-tickets for all local trains by the end of 2013.

By the way, according to the department's information, as of July 11, the number of passengers purchased e-tickets makes only 2.5% of total sales through Internet.

Boarding complications

The procedure seems simple, but practice shows that boarding complications happen all the time. "I booked online and was told to go directly to the train as no replacement of tickets was required. Well, when I arrived they did not let me in. They said I did not have some printout and they did not have the passenger list..." a woman was shouting angrily on the phone. "I will never ever buy ickets online, "ForUm heard her adding.

Such incident is not isolated. For this ForUm has decided to investigate into the matter and find out the details.

Ticket algorithm

So, if you travel by Intercity+ or 37/38 Donetsk - Kyiv trains, you can buy online ticket and go straight to your car, where you must show the printed out ticket and boarding pass to your passenger car attendant.

By the way, there is no big difference in price between regular and e-ticket. In fact, the latter is one hryvnia cheaper. "Buying a ticket through, a passenger pays 11.5 hryvnias of commission fee, in a booking office - 12.5 hryvnias," press office of Ukrzaliznytsya reports.
Passengers should also take into account that online sale closes an hour before the departure. Ukrzaliznytsya explains that such scheme is used to avoid misunderstandings during boarding. When online sale is closed, the list of passengers who bought tickets online is printed and sent to the train master.

It is important to know that a car attendant has not right to refuse you boarding if he does not have that list to control your ticket. In other words, if you have a printed out ticket and an ID document you have every right to get on and take your seat. "Responsibility for delivery of the passenger list rests with the railway service," press office of the department reports. In case of an emergency, you should address the railway station administrator on duty or the chief booking clerk.

The only problem is that trains arrive on boarding platforms less than an hour before dispatching and passengers often come 15 minutes before the departure. And it is their right. Thus, there may be simply no time for solving misunderstandings.

However, passenger list problem may be solved in September. According to Ukrzaliznytsya, from July 23 online tickets and boarding passes for Intercity+ and 37/38 Donetsk - Kyiv trains have the status of payment document and QR code. Instead of the passenger list, car attendants of these trains use document control mobile terminals, which read the QR code and control the validity of the ticket. Considering online purchase will be available for other trains, eventually all train cars will be equipped with the devices. Moreover, e-tickets will be valid as a payment document for passengers going on business trip for further reporting to the accountant department.

The only reasons for passengers to be banned from boarding are invalid tickets or no tickets at all and discrepancy between names in ID document and ticket. Misprints are allowed in three characters maximum. Passengers also risk to be left behind if their luggage surpasses the norms of weight and size (up to 36 kilos and 200 cm of total sum of three dimensions). The rules apply to all passengers regardless of ticket type (regular or online).

As for ID documents, passengers can provide Ukrainian or foreign passport, driver's license, migrant card, residence permit, etc.

Efficiency wonders

Speaking about online purchase of train tickets we cannot avoid such important issue as functioning of the very system of online sale. In fact, passengers complain a lot about it, especially in the period of summer vacation.

"I decided to buy a ticket to Crimea on the first day of official opening of sale (45 days before the departure date). However, already in the morning half of the tickets were signed as sold and the number of remaining available seats was reducing rather quickly. While I was searching the system for the best variant, the system itself crashed for an hour or so. When the website resumed working it turned out all tickets were already sold out. I had to book a ticket for an additional train," Maryna tells.

In turn, Ukrzaliznytsya dismisses any insinuations and reports that the system of online sale functions just fine. "The number of available seats is equal for both purchasing online and in a ticket book. Considering widespread network of sales and numerous simultaneous inquiries, it is logical that the number of available seats reduces rapidly," the press office told ForUm.

Anyway, estimation of service quality rests with passengers, and it would be nice if anyone actually considers these estimations.

Tetyana Matsur


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