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Railways ministry under fire over costly booking system

By Liang Chen (Global Times)

09:05, September 26, 2012

A woman in a railway staff uniform stands on a stairway at the Beijing West Railway Station. (Photo: Wu Gang/GT)

The Ministry of Railways (MOR) has incurred the wrath of the public yet again, after its vaunted online ticket-purchasing system crashed under the weight of customers seeking to purchase tickets for the National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival holidays, which will begin on September 30 and last eight days.

Just days after the website 12306.cn crashed, the Taiji Computer Corporation, which constructed the website, officially announced that its bid had been accepted for a 199 million yuan ($31.56 million) upgrade of the system, according to reports in the China Business News.

The expensive project has provoked strong reactions from both IT insiders and the public, with a deluge of letters being sent to the MOR Monday, calling for the disclosure of information relating to the project, including details of the bidding procedure.

"I request the MOR reveal specific information regarding the bidding process. I would like to know how many companies participated in the bid, their bidding plans and why the Taiji company won the bidding," Dong Zhengwei, a Beijing lawyer who wrote a letter to the MOR, told the Beijing News.

Beijing citizen Zhou Xiaoyun and a student from Northwest Normal University named Huang Huanting also posted letters to the MOR Monday, asking the ministry to reveal information on the public tender process. Their letters had not received responses as of press time.

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