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Let's ensure fairness during Spring Festival travel rush

By Sun Zhe  (

16:13, February 07, 2013

As China's traditional Spring Festival is approaching, millions of homebound travelers are flocking to the rails, and how to get a train ticket has become the hottest topic online.

According to transportation authorities, this year the number of train trips is estimated to reach 225 million during the Spring Festival travel peak, also known as Chunyun in China. The figure is about 4.6% higher than last year.

Due to China's unique reality, it is a mission impossible for railway authorities to provide sufficient capacity for all the passengers. However, since public resources are scarce, it's more pressing to ensure a fair and orderly ticketing environment.

The lack of transparency and efficiency has made homebound travelers anxious or frustrated at every Chunyun. They suspect a large number of tickets are being put aside for the privileged, or scalpers, and complain that the online ticketing system creates a technical barrier to many migrant workers. Constrained resources plus unfair distribution, have led to mass discontent, complaints, and mistrust, damaging the reputation of the authorities.

Celebrating Lunar New Year with family is a deeply ingrained desire of all Chinese people. The world's largest annual migration also exposes the difficulties of setting in big cities. Most of the homebound travelers struggle to make a living and contribute much to the fast-growing cities where they work, but they are still drifters who have a hard time getting assimilated in the cities. It's Spring Festival's unique economic and cultural phenomenon.

So, the fundamental way to resolve the dilemma of Chunyun is to change the imbalance of regional development, rather than just increasing the transportation capacity. For now, ensuring fairness in buying tickets is the priority.

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