850 - Eybis

Train ticketing system must change


The online train ticketing system (EYBİS) in Turkey is far beyond the modern ones.

Here are 10 weaknesses of online ticketing system of TCDD Tasimacilik, that you’ll rarely face in modern systems:

Long term planning

Though many trains depart at the same time all along year, you can buy HST tickets 15 days prior to departure (before timetable changes, this time may drow down to 1 week), main line train tickets 30 days prior to departure and for some other trains 3-7 trains.

The travelers who’d like to plan its holidays months ago see “no record” message.

Pricing based on availability

Higher prices when there are less seats available is what we know from plane tickets. A similar system is being used only for HSTs in a very simple way. A smarter system would increase the revenue of TCDD which is making loss from passenger trains. This will also regulate popular trains like Dogu Express. Currently, many passengers attend tours to travel with Dogu Express, since they cannot find ticket.

Check-in

The last-day check-in system give airline companies to arrange different type of planes according to demand. Since it’s very easy to increase/decrease capacity in trains (by adding wagons to train set) would help meeting the demand and increase the efficiency.

Integration with online ticketing websites

It’s only possible to buy online train tickets via TCDD Tasimacilik’s website in Turkey. On the other hand, in many countries including Iran and Bulgaria, ticketing system can be accessed via web services. In this way, a German can buy Turkish train tickets using a website in German.

This is one of the main reasons especially international trains of Turkey are not well known in Europe.

Route suggestion

Let’s assume you’d like to travel from Istanbul to Adana. Wouldn’t it be nice system offers you Istanbul-Konya and Konya-Adana trains together?

Currently, you need to check different pages for HSTs, main lines and regional trains and discover how to travel.

Indeed, this is possible in current system, but only for some routes like Izmir-Ankara.

Online tickets for all trains

Online train tickets are only available for HSTs, main lines and a few regional trains. For international trains and many regional trains, you need to buy the ticket at the station. This is another reason for international trains run almost empty.

Fares table

Wouldn’t it be nice to see fares of trains and options? Maybe one option you never tried is not as expensive as you think. In current system, you can see the final price at the end, after entering many information.

Turkish characters

You are out of Turkey and would like to buy a train ticket from Ankara to Kirikkale. Sorry. Kirikkale is written without dots over i in Turkish, and you cannot select that station if you cannot that write that character. There are many stations with special characters that you cannot find in English keyboards like Islahiye, Odemis, Sarkisla, Cetinkaya.

Station name

Let’s assume that you’ll travel from Pendik to Izmit. You write Pendik but station name is not listed. Why? Because it’s recorded as “Istanbul (Pendik)” and you need to write at least “ist” to find it.

Another problem is writing the station name is not enough, you have to select from the list. Otherwise system says “select the station”.

No travel solution found

You succeed in entering the station, and then the date. But get “no travel solution found” message. Why? Hard to know, because  there may be several reasons. Tickets of that date may not be on sales. Maybe no seats left. Or there may be trains, but tickets are not sold via internet. Maybe there is no train service on that route.

Cover Photo: EYBİS ©

Written by Onur Uysal

Railway consultant. Owner of RT Media & Consultancy. Founder and editor of Rail Turkey.

7 comments

  1. Many thanks for this interesting piece. The most frustrating thing for me is your first item, long range planning, especially being unable to book sleeper space (which is usually in short supply) much advance.

  2. Fantastic information as usual Onur. More visitors to Turkey (me included) would use the trains if maps, timetables, booking, apps and so on were as easy to use and accessible as in Britain and Europe. Also more info in English at stations etc would be very reassuring for non-Turkish travellers. Keep up the great work Onur!

  3. Your spot on with all what you mentioned, i was trying to book istanbul to ankar and the only way i knew about the various tricks (especially istanbul pendik) is through seat61! Now that i have made a reservation, i have no idea how to change it to an open ticket :/

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