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China deploys real-name system to curb train-ticket scalping at holiday season

(Xinhua)

18:42, December 21, 2011

A passenger shows her real-name train ticket in this file photo taken on May 31, 2011 at the Nanjing Railway Station in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province. China's railway authorities have introduced a real-name ticket purchasing system in some of the country's busiest stations ahead of the Chinese New Year travel rush. The real-name system, to be applied in stations in Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Taiyuan, and so on, from Jan. 1, 2012, is meant to crack down on rampant ticket scalping that typically booms during the holiday travel rush, railway officials said on Dec. 21, 2011. (Xinhua)

BEIJING, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- The real-name system, to be applied in at least 29 train stations in and around Beijing and Shanghai from January 2012, is meant to crack down on rampant ticket scalping that typically booms during the holiday travel rush, railway officials said Wednesday.

Railways, the most popular transportation in China, are expected to carry 235 million passengers during the 40-day peak season, as people travel home for new year family reunions. The Chinese New Year, the first day on traditional lunar calendar, falls on Jan. 23, 2012.

A valid ID card permits the purchase of one ticket per route on any date, but a maximum of five tickets can be purchased if the buyer possesses the valid ID cards of five individuals, according to the new rule issued by the Beijing Railway Bureau.

Train tickets can be booked online, via phone, or standing in line, which can take hours -- or even days in some cases.

The country's police force is strengthening its crackdown on scalpers, who hoard tickets and resell them at much higher prices.

The Ministry of Public Security said police have arrested 828 scalpers and shut down 147 locations where tickets were being scalped in a crackdown launched earlier this month in which about 5,194 train tickets were confiscated.

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