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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Web tickets set to ease rail queues

By Zha Minjie  (Shanghai Daily)

08:30, January 04, 2012

In the run-up to this year's Spring Festival rush, about 15 percent of rail passengers have to date booked their tickets online, the Shanghai railway operator said yesterday.

This should help reduce the infamous long queues at ticket booths, said officials.

Nearly 1.3 million tickets had been sold as of Monday, said railway officials. Among them were about 200,000 sold online via www.12306.cn.

However, long queues and crowds were still seen at temporary ticket booths near Shanghai Railway Station, as many travelers complained that the online booking system did not function smoothly in peak times, and they would rather give the traditional method a go.

"No matter how hard I tried online, it just did not work," said a buyer, Wang Peng, from central China's Henan Province.

Instead, he and fellow travelers arrived early in the morning, heading a queue as tickets were issued at 3pm.

Guo Degang, 38, a migrant worker, said he could not use the Internet and would still come to the ticket booths every year as it "is more like a tradition."

The railway operator called for "passengers' understanding, as the online booking system will get much busier as the Spring Festival nears."

"The basic problem concerning the gap between demand and supply still exists," said railway officials in a statement.

The coming rush begins this Sunday and is expected to last 40 days. Shanghai's three major railway stations are expected to handle more than 7 million passengers, a 6 percent increase on last year.

The operator reminded passengers that tickets will have names so they must carry ID cards or passports.

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