Authorities take steps to secure train ticket supply

By Luo Wangshu (Chinadaily.com.cn) 08:27, February 06, 2024

Passengers prepare to board a train in Longxi county, Gansu province, on Sunday. [Photo by CHEN BIN / XINHUA]

In order to get a railway ticket for her journey home before Spring Festival, which falls on Saturday, Han Lingling, a teacher in Beijing, devised various strategies and tactics for her purchase, and even prepared contingency plans and rehearsed them in advance.

After setting two alarms, one 15 minutes and the other five minutes before the ticket sales began, and submitting over 20 applications on the waiting list and even resorting to using unauthorized purchasing platforms, she finally got the ticket for her journey on Feb 4 to Shenyang, Northeast China's Liaoning province.

Han's journey is just one of more than 100 million passenger trips made since this year's Spring Festival travel rush started on Jan 26.

From Jan 26 to Sunday, the national railway network handled more than 119 million passenger trips, according to China State Railway Group and the Ministry of Transport.

During the 40-day travel rush, which ends on March 5, the railway network is anticipated to set a record by handling more than 480 million passenger trips.

To meet the substantial demand, the official ticket booking platform, in face of immense pressure due to a high volume of visits, has upgraded the system to ensure a fair ticket-purchasing market.

Yang Lipeng, the technical head of the 12306 Railway Science and Technology Innovation Center, said that the 12306 platform, the only ticket booking platform authorized by China's railway network, is the world's largest real-time ticket booking system.

Since Jan 12, when tickets for the Spring Festival travel rush became available, the platform has sold more than 398 million train tickets, of which over 258 million were for the travel rush period, Yang said.

He added that the platform has experienced immense pressure due to a massive number of visits and successfully navigated through the peak sales period before Spring Festival.

"The system is operating smoothly and steadily," he said.

He said that the authorities were "committed to providing a fair, just, convenient and safe allocation of the limited number of train tickets to the passengers, and ticket purchasing has become increasingly standardized".

"However, some unauthorized platforms saw train tickets for Spring Festival as a lucrative 'business opportunity', employing unauthorized means such as 'ticket-snatching software' to engage in 'ticket-snatching for profit'. These activities have posed risks to the protection of passengers' personal information and the security of the 12306 platform," Yang said.

To curb these activities, the 12306 platform has established a mechanism for the online verification of passengers' identity information with the national certification authority, regulating the registration and ticket purchasing services, and preventing registration and ticket purchasing with false identity information.

The system has also intensified real-time monitoring and identification of abnormal behavior, taking measures such as rejecting related requests for tickets or placing them at the end of the waiting list, Yang said.

"No matter the type of advertisement for ticket-snatching software, data from the 12306 platform shows that paying more money to speed up the process of securing a train ticket is ineffective."

(Web editor: Tian Yi, Zhong Wenxing)


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