Inaccessible Online bus ticket

In the process of booking a ticket to my home town I have opened Google and searched for the key word “Bus ticket online”. Wow!!! I got first three following results in the same order.

Hoping that at least one of the top 3 online bus ticketing websites will be accessible I have started to book my ticket.

Red Bus

Soon I hit enter www.redbus.in on my browser address bar on the home page itself I have found the simple form to fill up the details of my journey. The simple form contains the fields “From”, “To” and Date in the format mm-dd-yyyy”. All these form elements are properly labeled. My screen reader is able to identify them without any confusion.

However I have found the following accessibility issues in the process.

  • No headings in the page. Due to this users of screen reader will face difficulty in navigation.
  • The date field is in read only format. When the date is in this format user can only pick a date. So not required to provide the format as DD-MM-YYYY.
  • >After the date field, the calendar with current month and next month are directly opened. The user should be given an option to click a link which will open the calendar. The screen reader focus should be taken to the calendar. Also the calendar component should be made accessible.
  • To make date field more accessible, it is always better to allow the user to enter the date in addition to the accessible date picker.
  • The search functionality should be button instead of link.
  • In the search results page:

  • The table with column headers and search results are not together. Screen reader cannot form a relation between the header and the corresponding content.
  • The view/book ticket is an clickable event. Keyboard is not able to focus on this element. Hence the screen reader user and keyboard only user cannot use this functionality.

As a result I am not able to book ticket on Redbus.in website.

Make My Trip

My second attempt is with Makemytrip.com. I have opened the website and moved to bus link. Great to see the main content beginning at level one heading. The labels “Leaving from” and “Going To” for the drop downs are clear and informative. It is also worth pointing the usage of drop down for the cities. They help the user to find the exact place they are looking and will not make spelling mistakes.

Coming to the concerns of the website.

  • The date field is in read only format though the screen reader is not announcing. By default it is showing the next day and cannot be edited.
  • Unfortunately I am unable to find the date picker using the screen reader. Hence I could not pick the departure date I am looking for.
  • The “search for bus” should be a button instead of link.
  • In the search results page, all the results should be in an accessible tabular form.
  • On hitting enter on select seat option the content is updated accordingly but the user will not know it.
  • The screen reader cannot identify which are the seats available for booking or even could not find any option for randomly booking a ticket.

My attempt two is also a failure due to inaccessibility.

Ticket Goose

My third and final attempt began on the home page of Ticketgoose.com. A simple form with “From”, “To” and Date fields. In this form too the From and To fields are dropdowns and has minimum chances for errors. Selected both the fields and moved to date field.

Accessibility problems started here.

  • The date field is a read only text box. Still an instruction for date format is provided as “DD/MM/YYYY.
  • I could not find any element to open the date picker. As a trial and error basis I have hit enter on the Date label and the read-only text field. The Read-only text field has opened the calendar.
  • The opened calendar is somewhere at the end of the page. User need to know that the calendar is opened.
  • After selecting the date I could not find a submit button with my screen reader.
  • Observing something “link #” I have hit enter on it which took me to the bus results page.
  • The bus results page has a tabular format showing all the available buses. This table is quite accessible.
  • After choosing the required bus again I found the same “link #” at the end of that row.
  • Hitting enter on it took me to the next page where I need to select the seat.
  • In this page I could neither select a seat with my screen reader nor I could proceed with a random seat.
  • Trying to hit enter on “link #” here has not taken me anywhere. Lost third attempt as well.

Conclusion

Dear website service providers,
Due to your inaccessible website you have lost a customer. Sorry not one customer, more than 10% of Indian population is disabled. To add people who have age old difficulties, temporary disabled comes to 15%. So you are losing 15% of your business due to inaccessible website. Apart from that you have many other benefits of making your websites accessible.

Please consider revamping your website keeping accessibility in mind.

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