Thursday, September 23, 2010

The market in bus tickets

Recently while we were on our way back from Udupi, we scouted for KSRTC bus tickets. The internet reservation showed an availability of 10 tickets, but there were none available to book. So, we decided to go there and find out if there are any agents selling tickets.

Sure enough, there were. They were selling KSRTC tickets at cost price. There seemed to be no KSRTC Counter at Udupi, so the agents are helping the corporation sell their tickets. But that doesnt explain the software glitch - I am pretty sure it is no glitch because it shows the right numbers for other routes.

What happens to these tickets if the agents do not manage to sell them? Does the corporation buy them back? But then they are also shown as booked tickets in the system, unless there is some other way to account for them? Cancellations mean only a 50% odd refund depending on when it is cancelled.

And as such there is no control at what price they sell them. So, theoretically they can sell them at a higher price - but they dont - atleast not that I know of. The more we thought about it, the less we got anwers...

So, how do these agents make money on these tickets? Apart from the commission perhaps (is there one)? And is there some sort of buy back arrangement? How does this market work?

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