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A new step for online rail tickets

By Miranda Shek in Shanghai   (Global Times)

08:34, September 11, 2012

Railway authorities rolled out a revamped online booking system for some trains departing Shanghai during this fall's extended 8-day holiday that combines Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day.

Travelers who want to book and buy a ticket online must now make a reservation to return to the website at an appointed time on a different day to make their purchase.

The Ministry of Railways added the step to the booking process of its online ticket system, which was first launched early this year but was overwhelmed by travelers scrambling to buy tickets.

Starting Monday, traveler will be able to use the new process to book one-way tickets for 42 trains leaving Shanghai for cities including Wuhan, Zhengzhou and Chengdu on sporadic dates in September and October.

The reservation provides travelers with a user name and a specific hour and day beginning September 15 to login to the site to purchase their ticket.

Hu Jian, a press officer with the Shanghai Railway Bureau, told the Global Times that if this pilot is successful, the ministry will extend it nationwide.

Hu said travelers can only buy three tickets per reservation to prevent scalping. Only full-priced tickets, children's tickets and tickets for the disabled can be booked online.

Sun Zhi, who made a reservation Monday to purchase a ticket to Wuhan, told the Global Times the system should be expanded to other cities.

The ministry estimates that 75.4 million travelers will take the train during the holiday.

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