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Official denies ban on train ticketing software


10:24, January 24, 2013

BEIJING, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- A senior government official on Wednesday said the government has not ordered Internet browser developers to stop using a program designed to help users purchase train tickets.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has, however, asked several Internet service providers to monitor online traffic and adopt necessary measures to avoid possible network congestion caused by the program, said Zhang Feng, director of the ministry's telecommunication development department.

At a Wednesday press conference, Zhang said service providers should communicate with the government in order to come up with more effective ways to make it easier to buy train tickets.

Previous media reports said the ministry on Jan. 18 proposed banning the use of the free program, which can automatically sign a user onto, a train ticket booking system operated by a Ministry of Railways affiliate, as well as help complete all booking procedures.

The program has made purchasing train tickets much easier for the upcoming Spring Festival holiday, but has also made the purchasing environment less fair for buyers who are not computer-savvy, such as the elderly and migrant workers.

Netizens have said the government should resort to technical means, rather than administrative orders, to counter the program and ensure fair purchasing.

Securing train tickets is expected to become even more difficult this year, as railway passenger trips are expected to rise 4.6 percent from a year earlier to 225 million during the Spring Festival holiday travel rush, which marks the greatest annual human migration in the world.

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