…𝑰𝒕’𝒔 𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒄𝒆𝒓𝒏𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆 𝒊𝒔 𝒂 𝒍𝒂𝒄𝒌 𝒐𝒇 𝒄𝒍𝒂𝒓𝒊𝒕𝒚 𝒐𝒏 𝒔𝒆𝒂𝒕 𝒂𝒔𝒔𝒊𝒈𝒏𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒔, 𝒆𝒔𝒑𝒆𝒄𝒊𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒚 𝒘𝒉𝒆𝒏 𝒑𝒂𝒔𝒔𝒆𝒏𝒈𝒆𝒓𝒔 𝒓𝒆𝒍𝒚 𝒐𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒔𝒆 𝒓𝒆𝒔𝒆𝒓𝒗𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏𝒔 𝒕𝒐 𝒆𝒏𝒔𝒖𝒓𝒆 𝒂 𝒉𝒂𝒔𝒔𝒍𝒆-𝒇𝒓𝒆𝒆 𝒋𝒐𝒖𝒓𝒏𝒆𝒚.
By Susmika Subba
Passengers using public bus transportation are grappling with a recurring issue of bus seat reservations, resulting in double issuances of tickets for the same seat. This inconvenience affects both passengers who rely on online seat reservations and those making reservations at traditional ticket counters.
Several incidents have been reported where passengers, believing their bus seats were secure, encountered a disconcerting surprise when multiple individuals arrived with the same reservation for a particular seat. The problem appears to stem from a flaw in the booking system, leading to overlapping reservations.
This issue is not limited to online bookings; similar cases have been reported when passengers physically visit ticket counters. Double-ticketing issues occur when bookings are made both online and at the ticket counter for the same seat. The lack of coordination in assigning specific seat numbers to multiple passengers has left commuters in a predicament, especially during peak travel times.
Perplexed by the situation, passengers approached the bus driver for clarification. Leki Dorji, a passenger traveling from Thimphu to Gelephu, shared his recent ordeal when he encountered seat booking issues on the bus. “It was quite frustrating,” he expressed. “I had pre-booked my seat online, only to discover another passenger sitting in the same seat upon boarding. When I showed my ticket, we both had identical seat numbers.”
Fortunately, in this instance, there were extra seats available without assigned passengers, allowing Dorji to find an alternative. He said, “While I was fortunate to eventually find another available seat, the uncertainty surrounding overlapping reservations can lead to unnecessary complications, especially for those who may not be as fortunate to find an alternative seat.”
In a similar vein, Sonam Yangki said, “Due to a problem with multiple bookings, we encountered an issue and were advised to take the next bus. However, in our urgency, we had to opt for a taxi at our own expense.”
Tshering Dema recently encountered challenges with overlapping bus ticket reservations, and she shared her frustrations about the ordeal, “It’s disheartening to face such difficulties with bus ticket reservations. I booked my seat well in advance, only to find someone else with the same reservation. It’s a real inconvenience for passengers like me who plan their journeys ahead of time.”
Dawa Dema Tamang faced the same situation while traveling from Thimphu to Dagana. She said, “When I approached the bus attendant, even they seemed puzzled by the situation. It’s concerning that there is a lack of clarity on seat assignments, especially when passengers rely on these reservations to ensure a hassle-free journey.”
Dawa further expressed her perspective on the system, stating, “The overlapping reservations not only create confusion but also add stress to the travel experience. I believe there needs to be a more efficient system in place to avoid such conflicts and ensure a smooth boarding process for everyone.”
An official from Bhutan Construction and Transport Authority (BCTA) commented on the instances of multiple bookings, noting that such occurrences are sometimes attributed to online system failures, often overlooked by the ticketing counter. He stated, “When there is this type of issue, we usually give preference to the one who has booked the seat in person at the counter.”
The official emphasized the resolution approach, stating, “As for the other person, we try to adjust them to the next bus with the same destination. We also issue a warning letter regarding the matter to the responsible person.”
He clarified that while such issues are not typically severe when a destination has multiple bus services, it becomes a significant concern for places like Gasa, which only has one bus service. The official mentioned, “Even though we try to schedule their journey for the following day and resolve the issue.”
Regarding cases of emergency departures, the official highlighted that they first attempt to settle matters between passengers. If unsuccessful, limited interference is made, as the control over bus services lies with private entities. He affirmed, “Whatever action must be taken is in their hands.”
The accounts of affected commuters highlight the pressing need for improvements in the bus reservation system, ensuring a more reliable and seamless experience for all passengers. Authorities are urged to address these concerns promptly to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of public transportation services.