In late May, when some COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in Turkmenistan, the rail service between the provinces was partially resumed. Correspondents of “Chronicles of Turkmenistan” report that there are still not enough trains to meet the growing demand for train services.
Ashgabat-Turkmenbashi, Ashgabat-Turkmenabat and Ashgabat-Dashoguz trains run every second or third day. The train service from Ashgabat to Serkhetabat (Kushka) has not been resumed yet. Before the COVID-19 restrictions had been introduced, there were daily trains for this destination.
Restrictions on the number of trains lead to corruption and re-selling business. Tickets in the booking offices at the official price are quickly purchased by re-sellers who then re-sell them with an extra charge.
For instance, in the morning of 15 June a resident of Dashoguz velayat came to the booking office of the Ashgabat railway station and was 24th in the queue.
Only the first twenty people were able to purchase tickets for the price of 37 manats, after which the booking clerk said there were no more tickets available.
Those who were unable to buy tickets by tradition started to look for tickets through their acquaintances. Intermediaries offered tickets at 160 manats.
Later it transpired that the next day when there were no trains according to the timetable, a military train with conscripts on board was en route to Dashoguz, to which one passenger car was attached.
It was half empty because no announcement to potential passengers had been made.A few people in front of the booking office were able to purchase tickets for this train at the official price.
The demand for tickets in the summer season is very high.Not only residents of the capital but inhabitants of other villages and towns wish to go to Turkmenbashi to spend their holidays by the sea.
However, they first need to get to Ashgabat, which can also be challenging because of a large number of passengers, among whom are those travelling to Ashgabat for medical treatment.
“Chronicles of Turkmenistan” previously reported that effective 11 June the official permit issued by Turkmenistan’s Migration Office is no longer required to be able to travel from Ashgabat to the provinces but residents of the provinces are still required to obtain the travel permit to visit the capital.
Some dissatisfied passengers interviewed by the correspondent of “Chronicles of Turkmenistan” are blaming railway personnel for limiting the passenger flow and the artificial shortage of tickets so that dealers who are in cahoots with them can earn money re-selling tickets.
Railroad personnel, in their turn, report that there is a shortage of cars, which are worn out and have no spare parts.Toilets are not working and there is no lighting and boilers for hot water.
For this reason the same trains runs to the same destination.The post Dealers take advantage of a shortage of trains to re-sell tickets first appeared on Chronicles of Turkmenistan.