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Verification codes raise difficult questions for train tickets buyers

By Yao Xinyu (People's Daily Online)    13:47, December 09, 2015
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Snapshot of the verfication codes

12306.cn is the official website of the China Railway Customer Service Center, where people can purchase train tickets. But recently, as the Spring Festival travel rush approaches, in order to avoid tickets scalping, the verification codes on 12306 seem to be getting out of control. Ticket buyers are being asked questions like: “in the eight pictures below, please identify all the non-intelligent eyeglasses.” And: “in the eight pictures below, please identify all photos of the Bosporus Strait [a body of water in Turkey].”

Based on statistics released by a website, there are 581 different verification codes on 12306, and 336,980 permutations and combinations if one inputs two key words. The accuracy rate for one try is 8 percent, the two time accuracy rate is 27 percent, and the three to four time accuracy rate is 65 percent. If it takes five seconds to get the right verification code on the first try, then each incorrect input of a verification code decreases the possibility of successfully purchasing a ticket by 80 percent, since essentially all the tickets get snatched up the second they are available.

A journalist for the website www.thepaper.cn called the customer service number of 12306.com. Staff replied that the verification code on the website is a big issue and they have already reported the problem to their technology department. In the meantime, 12306.cn suggests that passengers keep refreshing the verification code until they receive an easy one to fill out.

Snapshot of the verfication codes

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Yao Xinyu,Liang Jun)

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