Train Ticket Blackout: 21 July to 6 August 2014

Last updated: May 3, 2014

The train operator pre-sells all peak season tickets, only at train stations.

Every year at the end of Ramadan, trains in major cities are filled by passengers returning to their hometowns to celebrate Idul Fitri (the Muslim Christmas) with their families.

Long Queues at Train StationWhenever tickets go on sale for trains at the end of Ramadan, train stations are swamped by people desperate to purchase tickets on these trains. For the last two years, this has been 90 days before the departure date, with a “second round” of tickets available closer to the time. In 2014, the public holidays are 28-29 July, so tickets were scheduled to go on sale at the end of April.

Mau Ke Mana had kept a list of clients’ train enquiries and prepared innovative strategies to purchase tickets for their requested trains.

But it all came to nothing, because on 19 April the train operator operated a barely publicised pre-sale for train tickets 1 week before/after Idul Fitri – 21 July to 6 August. (Note that this is more than 90 days in advance, earlier than usual).

In addition, tickets were only available at train stations as paper tickets, not e-tickets available via online booking like usual. If you didn’t know, too bad. If you had to work then, too bad. If (like Mau Ke Mana’s clients) you were travelling from another city/country and paper tickets weren’t suitable, too bad.

A week later, The Jakarta Post wrote:

Holiday revelers wishing to return to their hometowns for Idul Fitri have started to throng train station as state-railway company PT KAI began to sell long-distance trip tickets on April 19. Within only a few days, tickets for various destinations in West, Central and East Java and return trips for certain dates, such as seven days prior to and after Idul Fitri, were reportedly sold out…

Train Ticket ScalperAs well as being poorly planned and plainly unfair, this situation will be a free kick for ticket scalpers.

As the train operator has been moving increasingly to e-tickets, online booking, check in kiosks, etc, returning to the old “cash and carry” system is an unfortunate backwards step. It also shows the management’s lack of confidence in the capacity of the train operator’s website, which remains unreliable, difficult to navigate and (unlike e.g. airline websites) in Indonesian only.

Therefore, tickets on many trains between 21 July and 6 August are already sold out, and it’s not Mau Ke Mana’s fault. Like many locals, Mau Ke Mana was in the dark.

If you would also like to express your annoyance at the train operator KAI, feel free to drop them a note on their Facebook page or re-tweet these messages:

One Comment on “Train Ticket Blackout: 21 July to 6 August 2014”

  1. Chris says:

    It looks like a second round of ticketing will occur on 15 May, with e-ticketing available this time:

Comment on “Train Ticket Blackout: 21 July to 6 August 2014”.

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