Online train ticket booking system is underway

19:17, September 14, 2010      

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Passengers in China will soon be able to easily book train tickets online by a simple click of the mouse, which is something travelers have been anticipating for years. The railway department has started to prepare for the launch of the online train ticket-booking system and will strive to put it into operation as soon as possible.

It was reported that the online train ticket-booking system has entered the substantial development stage with generally formulated technical plans and ongoing relevant preparations.

An official in charge said the Ministry of Railways is currently negotiating with related banks on payment platforms.

It is said that the online train ticket-booking services will first be piloted in one of the normal or high-speed railway sections before being gradually popularized, though the pilot route has not been settled down yet.

Reporters interviewed several ticket sellers at the ticketing hall of Guangzhou South Railway Station on Sept. 12, who all said they have not received any information about the online ticket booking services of high-speed railways.

Moreover, officials from major railway ticketing outlets also said no information has been made about the online ticket booking services.

The database of the ticketing system at Guangzhou South Railway Station, however, was upgraded recently, which was believed to be a partial preparation for the launch of the online ticket booking services in the future.

The following are some hotly-discussed aspects that have attracted most attention over the online train ticket booking services.

Question 1: Will it be fair to non-Internet users?

Reporters learned that many people who have no access to the Internet or do not often surf the Internet are worried that it will be even more difficult for them to book train tickets by phone or at ticket offices if lots of tickets are set aside for online reservations.

Inadequate sources of tickets are another major problem faced by the Internet booking system.

An official from the Ministry of Railways said that the interests of both Internet users and non-users will be taken into consideration and great efforts will be made to solve concerned tickets allocation problem.

Question 2: How much will the service charge be?

According to the current regulations, ticket outlets only charge buyers 5 yuan each for a service fee, which is obviously not enough for outlets to provide home-delivery services if the online booking system is introduced.

At present, airline ticket outlets do not charge delivery fees and airlines companies will pay outlets a certain amount of bonus based on their sale performances. The more tickets have been sold, the more bonus will be paid, which has greatly improved the online booking services.

Question 3: Will the real-name system be adopted by online booking services?

The Guangzhou Railway Group and Chengdu Railway Bureau introduced the real-name system for ticket sales on their railway lines earlier this year during the Spring Festival period. Currently, passengers need to enter their real names and ID numbers when booking airline tickets online, but will they also have to do so when booking railway tickets online?

Some passengers worried that the real-name system involves the risk of divulging personal information.

Ministry of Railways once said that whether the real-name system will be adopted for online railway ticket reservations were still being discussed.

By People's Daily Online


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