VN Railways Offers E-Tickets for Tet Season

The Sai Gon station has announced their new ticket buying procedures this year, leaning heavily on internet and phone bookings rather than counter purchases. 

Vietnam Railways expects the new ticket buying procedures will clear the crowds queue up at the ticket counters (Photo: Tuoi Tre Newspaper)
Book tickets online 60 days in advance
Deputy GM Dinh Van Sang of Vietnam Railways has announced that the website will now have the function to book tickets online. “Those who expect to travel by train during the Tet season, have to book their tickets online 60 days in advance.
For example, the train station will sell start selling tickets for trips departing at January 20, 2009 from November 20 onwards. Passengers looking to travel on this date can only book this ticket only after November 20, and continue buying them until the tickets are sold out.”
The online ticket counter will open over Nov 1-10 to sell tickets for travel during Jan 1-14, 2009 and later on for travel during Nov 11-14, 2009. For travel from Jan 15 to Jan 23, 2009; the station will give priority for group tickets bought by enterprises, and individuals purchasing tickets via the phone.
Booking via internet and phone only allowed

To supporting the new booking methods, the station has upgraded its bandwidth to 10,000 connections. This upgrade will allow 1,000 passengers to book online at the same time.

According to Mr. Sang, the station will not accept any direct purchases at their ticket counter. Passengers can log onto the website and make their purchases online. Payment via ATM or debit cards is accepted.
Confirmation of the booking can be printed out, or the code copied and presented at the station for the ticket.
Those wishing to purchase their tickets through the phone will call 08-3-843 6528. For an extra charge of VND 10-20,000, the tickets will be delivered.
The third, and also the last method allowed for ticket purchases is to use SMS (Short-text Messaging Service) with the script “GASG” to the 6305 terminal. The terminal will send back a queue-up number and date to the cell phone of the passenger. The passenger can get the ticket on the date mentioned from the station counter.
Those making online bookings can also call the station or request home delivery for the same extra charge as purchases via phone or SMS.
The station has asked that passengers who purchase tickets for the Tet period to collect their tickets within two days after receiving confirmation for their booking. If a ticket is not paid for and collected within two days after the booking confirmed, the station will invalidate the booking and resell the ticket.
Group purchase is set to buy first
An estimated, 83,000 seats for trips from Sai Gon to Ha Noi will be available during the eight days near the Tet holidays from Jan 15-22, 2009. Among these, about 37,350 seats will be available for group purchases; 12,450 sold by the Ha Noi station; 12,450 sold by ticket agents and the switchboard 08-3-843 6528. The remaining number will be sold online.
Station Master Nguyen Thi Thanh Phuong emphasized that her station will set priority for group purchases as usual. Eligible groups must consist of at least 20 tickets for same departure and arrival destinations, a letter from the company confirming the employment status of the group members and also the identity papers of the group members.
The representative of a company making purchases for his company will also be required to submit a letter of introduction from its director, and a complete application form which is available at the station.
The station only accepts group purchase orders until October 31.
For the companies or groups that purchase less than 20 tickets, the station recommended the same methods as individuals.
Photo ID needed

In order to restrict speculation in train tickets, the station will only accept and release the tickets when passengers provide their identity card or other personal papers which have photographic identification.
Personal papers permitted include passport, driving license, military identity card, certificate of birth (for passengers below 15) or application for a new identity card (with photo id and confirmation stamp from the police department).
Even with a confirmed booking, passengers providing a different identification will not be able to receive the ticket.
The name and identity number of the passenger will be written on their tickets with a gel-pen.

By Staff Writers – Translated by Truong Son

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