China to start pilot system of name-based train ticket

10:22, January 10, 2010      

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China will pilot a system requiring train travelers to buy tickets with their own personal IDs to crack down on hoarding by scaplers during the annual transportation peak.

Traveler's name and ID card number will be printed on the ticket, and ID card is also necessary for boarding, the Ministry of Railway said on Friday.

The new system will be implemented in 37 stations along the trunk lines passing through the southern Guangdong and Hunan provinces, as well as the southwestern Sichuan, where large numbers of migrant workers arrived and left.

The system will be effective between Jan. 30 and Feb. 13. This year's Lunar New Year fell on Feb. 14. Travelers could buy tickets ten days before departure.

Student ID card and foreign passport are also eligible.

It has long been a headache for the Chinese authorities that inadequate railway service resulted in severe ticket shortages notably during the festival transportation peak season when people moved across the nation for family reunion and vacation.

The situation was exacerbated as scalpers stockpiled tickets and resold them at higher prices for fat profit margins.

The National Development and Reform Commission predicted the nation's railway network will carry 210 million people, a rise of 9.5 percent from a year ago.

"It is a very good measure. You know, in the past, we always had to buy tickets home at a higher price from scalpers during Spring Festival period every year," said passenger Zuo Xiaoyan at the Guangzhou Railway Station in Guangdong on Saturday. She is from the neighboring Hunan Province.

But another passenger Chen Jin, a student of the Guangdong Justice Police Vocational College, worried that it would take more time than before for passengers to buy tickets under the new system, although scalping would be cracked down.

"Only after the trial system is implemented, can we say whether it is good or not. It is too early to draw a conclusion now," he said. He is from Guangdong's Zhanjiang City.

Other passengers also proposed the railway authorities open more channels for booking tickets, such as telephone booking and on-line booking.

Source: Xinhua
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