ASTANA – Beginning Jan. 1, Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ) will notify passengers about train delays of more than three hours, said Asset Asavbayev, chair of the Ministry for Investments and Development transport committee, at a Dec. 6 press conference in the capital.
Passengers will receive an SMS notification (text) free of charge, and Asavbayev stressed the importance of indicating one’s cell number when purchasing tickets.
“I would like passengers to indicate their telephone numbers when buying tickets both on the website and at the ticket office so that if a train is late, they will receive information,” he said.
KTZ recently enhanced its website, bilet.railways.kz, with a waiting list function. If a train running at a particular time and date is full, the new service will e-mail prospective passengers if a ticket is returned.
The railroad promises additional cars to popular destinations during the New Year holiday.
This year, KTZ opened 24-hour call centres which received approximately 2,500 passenger complaints about the condition of trains and behaviour of conductors. The company made attempts to address each problem. In November, Air Astana personnel provided special customer service training for 1,500 KTZ conductors and cashiers.
The ministry examined 101 trains this year and found 800 violations. Inspectors also discovered more than 1,000 incidents of stowaway passengers in 830 passenger trains. The railway administrators were fined 55 million tenge (US$148,343.).
In ten years, the company promises to replace more than 1,000 old rail cars produced from 1970-1980. KTZ will introduce a new standard for equipping trains with bedding and soft removable equipment in the first half of 2019.