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Train tickets in short supply (2)

By Wang Xiaodong  (China Daily)

10:03, January 28, 2013

Crowds of people wait for ticket-checking at Beijing Railway Station to board the train heading for Songyuan in Jilin province on Saturday, the fi rst day of this year’s Spring Festival travel rush. ZOU HONG / CHINA DAILY

Chinese have traditionally favored road and train transportation, especially trains, for their safety and lower prices.

With a large number of people traveling during the period, getting a ticket, especially a train ticket, has been difficult every year. People often have to wait in long queues in railway stations, even over night.

To help migrant workers get train tickets, railway authorities have encouraged them to buy tickets in groups (normally with 10 or more people) so they can get tickets before the official date when tickets begin to be released, the Ministry of Railways said.

To facilitate ticket buying, people can buy train tickets online as early as 20 days in advance starting in early January, eight days earlier than before. People can buy tickets in railway stations 18 days in advance, according to the new policy.

"In the past I usually bought train tickets at the railway station or its official agents, but now I always buy at home on my computer," said Wang Ying, a white-collar worker from East China's Anhui province, who works in Beijing.

"It saves me a lot of time. But still I found it very difficult to get a ticket before the Spring Festival, and all the tickets to my hometown seemed to be gone in a flash after they started selling online."

Despite the convenience of online buying, many migrant workers, who often lack basic computer skills, found it hard to get a ticket online.

Li Jun, a migrant worker who works in a restaurant in Beijing, said he finally got a ticket back home to Chengdu, Sichuan province, after visiting the Beijing Railway Station several times.

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