Latest News:  

English>>China Society

Rail ticket seller misses out on special dinner again

By Wang Qian (China Daily)

09:37, February 07, 2013

Li Tian, a ticket seller at Beijing Railway Station. (Photo/China Daily)

While millions of people take to the roads each day for Spring Festival family reunions, Li Tian is going to miss his fifth Lunar New Year's Eve dinner with his family on Saturday.

Since he started working at Beijing Railway Station in 2008, the 28-year-old ticket seller hasn't taken a work day off, except for his one-week honeymoon to Hong Kong.

"I have got used to spending the Spring Festival Eve in the ticket-selling hall," Li said.

Although the hall is less crowded now, with travelers able to book tickets online or by phone, ticket sellers still cannot get away for the weeklong Spring Festival holiday.

"As long as there are people coming for tickets, every ticket seller must be ready at the counter," Li said.

More than 40 ticket sellers will be on duty during the 40-day Spring Festival travel rush, which began in late January.

But Li began to get really busy one month earlier.

Since late December, he has left for work at about 6:30 am every day, never finishing before 9 pm. During this time, he gets a 20-minute meal break at about 10:30 am. He strictly limits drinking water to avoid going to the toilet during work.

He spends his work time in front of a computer or solving passengers' problems.

Life hasn't changed much at the ticket counter for Li even with the launch of new booking services. But the situation on the other side of the counter has changed dramatically, from being overcrowded to fewer than 10 people queuing for tickets.

According to the Ministry of Railways, about 40 percent of tickets were bought online or by telephone in January.

"The number of people lining up for tickets is much smaller, while more are coming for ticket refunds," Li said, adding that the number of refund counters has been increased to about 12 from the original six.

As one of the busiest stations in the country, Beijing Railway Station expects to see more than 150,000 passengers on and off trains every day from Saturday, Xie Jingyi, the station's press official, said.

Nearly 4 million passengers will use trains at the station during the Spring Festival travel rush, about 30 percent more than last year, Xie said.

The travel rush lasts from Jan 26 to March 6, with about 220 million passengers expected to take trains nationwide, a year-on-year increase of 4.6 percent, according to the Ministry of Railways.

China launched an online ticketing system and ticketing hotlines in late 2011 to avoid long lines for tickets at stations.

We Recommend:

Amazing China in 1950s you’ve never seen

People on way home during festival travel rush

A visit to the village of lepers in Yunnan

Beijing fantasy emerges in dense fog

The art of food, the art of life

How much should we pay for family reunion?

China's weekly story (2013.01.21-01.27)

Time to stop appalling food waste

Uncover the myth of 'devil training'

Email|Print|Comments(Editor:WangXin、Chen Lidan)

Leave your comment0 comments

  1. Name


Selections for you

  1. Chinese navy conducts landing training

  2. Winter training on snow-capped mountains

  3. Imitation of Russian Empress' crown unveiled

  4. 12 killed in SW China road accident

  5. Moments that melt your heart

  6. China's transport sees travel rush

  7. Wu Mochou: Maverick musician

  8. 'Little Psy' wants to be more famous

  9. Robot pavilion opens to public at Taipei

  10. China's income distribution reform

Most Popular


  1. Aiming at fairer realty market
  2. Dark business environment breeds dark deeds
  3. Israel-Palestine peace talks dominate Obama's visit
  4. Cowardly officials behind thuggish pawns
  5. Free-pass policy faces New Year migration test
  6. Safety on the roads
  7. Hukou and properties
  8. China, Japan need dialogue for peace
  9. Hukou system denies right to 'die equal'
  10. The ungainly dance of Shinzo Abe

What’s happening in China

Moments that melt your heart during the Spring Festival travel rush

  1. 16 sentenced over Jiangsu protests
  2. Traditional red envelopes get a personal touch
  3. Guiding travelers a labor of love
  4. State firm's head sacked over luxury banquet
  5. State firms downsizing dinners