There have been some complaints aimed at the Ukrainian’s train authority over their new online booking system. The system is freshly launched and Ukrzaliznytsia says updates are coming to help those without a working knowledge of a Kyrilic-based language. Wondering what was happening, I decided to give the new system a look. You can too by pointing your browser of choice to “http://booking.uz.gov.ua/”.
The first thing I noticed was that it has no idea how to spell things in English. I checked the schedule for a ticket to Bakhchisaray, the town I lived in for two years. The system looks at what you are typing and offers destinations as you input each letter. I had no luck finding Bakhchisaray in English. It’s simply never an option.
For fun, I switched to the Russian version of the page and swapped my keyboard over. “Б…а…х…ч” Eureka! After typing four Kyrilic characters, there was Bakhchisary. From there, I could easily buy a ticket.
Ukraine has a distinct and profound English problem. There are many fine examples of Ukrainians speaking outstanding English. Unfortunately they are not the ones working on these projects, or if they are, they are completely overwhelmed.
Let me repeat this: If you don’t have a working knowledge of a Kyrilic-based language, don’t go to Ukraine and expect to function independently.