Passengers are seen at Ramses station, Cairo's main train station, in central Cairo, Egypt, November 18, 2015 - REUTERS/Luke Baker
CAIRO – 11 June 2019: The Ministry of Transport officially launched in October 2018 a railway booking application that helps Egyptians book train tickets through their mobile phones for the first time, without the need to wait in queues outside ticket booths.
Currently available at Play store, the application translated in English to “Egypt trains: booking and inquiring” has attracted around 80, 915 users thus far, while the total number of people who installed the app hit 210,371, announced Khaled Attiyah, the chairman and CEO of Transport Information Technology CO.
Booking process as users choose date, time, stations and no. of seats - screenshot of application
Attiyah added that the company is planning to upgrade the application to a new version that enables users to easily book their tickets.
Booking train tickets in Egypt has always been conducted at railway stations, with travelers heading to the booth of their destination to reserve tickets, after having to wait in queues, which sometimes get longer during national occasions and holidays.
By installing the app, the booking process has been made easier, and at travelers’ fingertips, where they can inquire about vacant seats at air-conditioned trains, and determine the number of tickets to be booked.
Users can know seats available via internet, tickets' booths - screenshot of application
Users will need to enter their visa card number through which they will electronically purchase the tickets, with dates and seats defined.
IOS users will also be able to book train tickets via phones as the company plans to make the application available on Apple Store, according to Attiyah.
The application allows users to make complaints, and to leave recommendations for better service. Each passenger can book up to four tickets, with their names added to the tickets, which helps eliminate black markets.
Users can leave complaints and recommendations on the application to improve service - screenshot of application
The Egyptian National Railway Authority also plans to increase the capacity of seats available for booking via mobile phones and the internet by 40 percent.
Looking to evade long queues at railway stations, passengers who install the application will need to sign in by creating a new account, in case they did not already have one on the authority’s website.
The application asks users to approve a list of conditions and regulations, among which that the main passenger should be the owner of the visa card used in the booking process, or should be one of his relatives.
Users can track their trips - screenshot of application
Then users determine the arrival and departure stations, the date of traveling, the time, the class and the number of seats. Passengers will be charged registration dues, estimated at four percent and added to the price of the tickets booked via the application.
After booking, passengers are emailed a summary of the reservation receipt and details, which they print out before taking their train so the collectors can review them.
Egypt has a comprehensive plan to upgrade all the aspects of Egyptian railway system, including the infrastructure, tractors, signals and train carriages, with a total cost LE 55 billion in a 5-year overhaul program.
The new railway booking application comes in light of the country’s efforts to conduct a digital transformation of the economy, which has seen several bids like introducing the pre-paid electricity meters.
Additional reporting by Nourhan Magdi