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Laos-China Railway plans online ticket sales 

The Laos-China Railway Co., Ltd. plans to start selling train tickets online at the end of this year, to simplify the process for passengers following numerous complaints about the existing system.

Currently, people wanting to travel from Vientiane have to queue for a long time at the station to buy tickets. The station is outside the city centre and there are no toilets in the waiting area outside the station, meaning that passengers are greatly inconvenienced.

Passengers board a train in Vientiane.–Photo KPL

Because of the many difficulties involved in buying tickets, numerous people have taken advantage of the situation and set themselves up as agents, enabling people to buy tickets easily, but at an inflated price.

The situation has sparked a lot of comments on social media and it is feared the publicity surrounding the ticketing system could damage the image of tourism in Laos.

In response, the Laos-China Railway Co., Ltd. has admitted the problems and is taking steps to rectify the situation by making ticket sales more efficient.

Speaking at a press conference in Vientiane on Wednesday, the company’s Deputy Director, Mr Daochinda Sihalath, said the company admits the errors and deficiencies in the availability of services and is preparing to improve the situation step by step.

With regard to issues relating to services, the company welcomes constructive feedback in order to make improvements, especially to the way tickets are sold, he said.

The company is in the process of creating an online ticket sales system using a mobile app designed by the company, which it hopes will be ready for use as soon as possible.

“At present, we have developed the necessary software and the next step will be to complete the improvement and purchase of equipment for installation. We hope the system will be ready for use by the end of this year,” Mr Daochinda said.

In response to complaints about the lack of toilets at Vientiane station, the company will use the second floor of the station for the provision of such facilities.

“At the same time, we will provide more ticket sales outlets so that tickets can be bought more easily and quickly than at present,” he added.

The Laos-China Railway Co., Ltd. will work with the Railway Department of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, and the Tourism Management Department of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, to look at ways to improve ticket sales.

The rail operator is also considering opening stations for longer. At present people are not allowed to enter stations until the train departure time, meaning that passengers are forced to queue up outside the station for long periods of time.

Director General of the Railway Police Department of the Ministry of Public Security, Colonel Kaisone Keomany, said the disorderly situation at Vientiane station had arisen because of the high demand for travel and the increase in the number of tourists.

In addition, unauthorised ticket agents are selling tickets an inflated price, mainly to tourist groups. Often, a tour company has already distributed its allocated quota of tickets, but buys many more to sell and make a profit.

The railway police will partner with railway officials to regulate the queues of people waiting to buy tickets at the station, to create an orderly system and weed out ticket touts.

By Times Reporters
 (Latest Update August 5, 2022)

   

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