Culture & Society

The chief executives of Turkmenistan’s railroad sectors are incapable of imposing order or streamlining passenger transportation and sale of tickets.
Passengers using trains №606 Ashgabat-Turkmenbashi and №605 Turkmenbashi-Ashgabat are discontent with the state of carriages and the quality of customer service.
Correspondents of “Chronicles of Turkmenistan” report that in carriages, including four-berth sleepers, water boilers are not working and there is no lighting in the majority of lavatories. When asked, train hosts respond that the carriages were left in such a condition by the previous shift.
Train hosts recommend boiling water for tea in their electric kettles, but one or two kettles are not sufficient to serve passengers in the entire train car.
Many passengers without tickets board train №605 in the city of Turkmenbashi and Balkanabad. Train hosts charge 60 manats from them whereas the official fare in a four-berth second class sleeper is 44 manats from Turkmenbashi and 47,65 manats from Balkanabad. A ticket in an open plan sleeper departing from Turkmenbashi costs 28,45 manats.

There are passengers who hold tickets purchased by their relatives. Train hosts check personal information (name and passport number) with details indicated in the ticket. In case some discrepancies are identified, passengers are obliged to pay a fee of 30 manats.
Those who buy tickets in the ticket office at the railway station in Balkanabad prior to departure have to pay an extra 30 manats.
We bought tickets in the booking office and paid 50 manats instead of 44. It turned out that booking clerks issue tickets in other names in advance and then sell them immediately before the train departs when passengers have no time to verify information. For this reason we had to pay an extra fee of 30 manats for each family member to a train host, a man who was returning from holidays with his family said.
In early August “Chronicles of Turkmenistan” reported problems related to purchasing train tickets after new rules of sale had been imposed. As of 1 September, the queues in front of railway booking offices have become smaller. In Ashgabat passengers can buy a train ticket on the day of departure. In Balkanabad where there are a lot of vendors from Ashgabat and Mary, the number of people in the queues is not decreasing.