Summer 2018: Bulgarian railways has shortfall of sleeping car tickets on trains to the coast

Just as the summer holiday season begins to pick up speed, getting a place in a Bulgarian railways sleeping car on trains to the Black Sea cities of Varna and Bourgas is proving a problem.

According to state railways BDZ, the problem is being caused by a shortage of sleeping cars and the continuing lack of a unified ticket sales information system.

However, the problem will be partly solved from July 1, when a new ticketing system will go into operation, BDZ said.

In 2018, until the end of September, advance ticket sales will be available 15 days ahead of departure, not five days as before.

Public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television said that the problem was worst in capital city Sofia. Tickets sell out within a few days of going on sale, and for certain trains, there are no places on sleeping cars more than three weeks before the date of the train journey.

At the beginning of the summer season, queues at ticket offices at Sofia Central Railway Station are long, and people sometimes have to wait for more than 20 minutes only to find out that there are no tickets.

Booking tickets from Varna and Bourgas to Sofia is effectively mission impossible because the ticketing sales information system does not work.

The head of BDZ’s marketing and sales, Milena Tzenova, told BNT that the “pain” was the result of the old system that BDZ passenger transport had been using up to now. There was no online connectivity with local stations and thus no way to sell reserved seats.

A new ticketing system would take effect from July 1, eliminating the problem of local ticket sales to Sofia, according to BDZ.

BDZ was aware that in summer, demand is greater than supply, so the railways is trying wherever possible to provide additional train coaches on the busiest routes.



The Sofia Globe staff

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