Ticket hopefuls stand in line for hours on end, find fault with online ticketing system.

The sales of advance train tickets drew huge crowds in Dhaka as people thronged ticket counters on Sunday to secure seats for their journey home for Eid-ul-Fitr.

Seventy-seven counters at five places in the capital, including the Kamalapur Railway Station, started selling the advance tickets for April 28 at 8am on Sunday.

Tickets of air-conditioned compartments are running out fast as the seats are few in number compared to the demand, according to the station authorities.

Hundreds of ticket hopefuls were standing and waiting in queues, some of whom had been there since the night prior or Sehri.

Those who could buy their desired tickets looked ecstatic, but many others were not so fortunate. After being unable to secure AC compartment tickets, one of them asked: “Where did all the tickets vanish? Who bought them?”

Some expressed their frustration at the e-ticketing service. They said they had to wait in long lines as they could not buy tickets online despite multiple attempts. 

Khairul, a ticket hopeful staying put at the station, said: “I tried booking seats online, but I could not even log in [to the ticketing site].”

Meanwhile, some complained that the ticketing software at the station was malfunctioning, resulting in longer wait times.

Having to produce NID cards to buy tickets was also taking up extra time, they said.

After buying a ticket for his Eid trip home, Kabir Hossain said: “I am happy that I will be able to go home. Let us now hope that the train leaves on time.”

When asked about the complaints, Kamalapur Railway Station Manager Masud Sarwar answered: “Air conditioned coaches have 55 seats, half of which are sold at the counters and the rest online. They are sold out after only serving two-three customers.

“Everyone tries to log in at once as soon as the server goes online at 8am, which is why it is not as responsive.”

The sale of advance train tickets got underway on Saturday, for April 27 journeys.

The advance tickets for April 29, April 30 and May 1 will be available on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.

Return tickets for May 1, 2, 3 and 4 will be available on May 5, 6, 7 and 8, in that order.