Ticket sales start

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By CHINA DAILY Li Hongyang con­trib­uted to this story.

Sales of train tick­ets for the an­nual Spring Fes­ti­val travel pe­riod started on Thursday.

Train tick­ets went on sale on Thursday for the first day of Spring Fes­ti­val rush, the 40-day travel peak dur­ing the Chi­nese New Year hol­i­day.

This year, China Rail­way Corp has scrapped pic­to­rial ver­i­fi­ca­tion checks for the on­line pur­chase of most tick­ets, to stream­line the buy­ing process dur­ing the rush, which runs from Jan 13 to Feb 21.

Since the be­gin­ning of last year, the rail­way op­er­a­tor’s of­fi­cial web­site — 12306.com — had re­quired users to ver­ify a book­ing by se­lect­ing a photo based on a sub­ject or ques­tion.

The se­cu­rity fea­ture has now been re­moved for 60 per­cent of tick­ets.

“The other 40 per­cent is un­der­stood to be for the most pop­u­lar de­par­ture or destination sta­tions, such as Bei­jing and Shang­hai,” Huang Xin, deputy di­rec­tor of rail­way trans­porta­tion for CRC, was quoted as say­ing by China Na­tional Ra­dio.

The se­cu­rity fea­ture was put in place to pre­vent scalpers from us­ing soft­ware that al­lows them to buy hun­dreds of tick­ets within sec­onds. How­ever, or­di­nary users had com­plained it was time-con­sum­ing.

“The im­ages are just too fuzzy to rec­og­nize,” said Song Wenbo, a col­lege stu­dent in Nan­chang, Jiangxi prov­ince, who re­turns home to Jilin prov­ince each Spring Fes­ti­val. “I was al­ways afraid of tick­ets be­ing sold out be­fore I could fig­ure out the pic­tures.”

Wu Jian­hong, a for­mer re­searcher for the Min­istry of Rail­ways’ Eco­nomic and Plan­ning Re­search In­sti­tute, said: “The se­cu­rity fea­ture af­fected or­di­nary pas­sen­gers as much as scalpers. Scalpers al­ways have soft­ware to get around se­cu­rity checks, so it is pas­sen­gers who end up suf­fer­ing.”

China Rail­way Corp pre­dicted China’s rail net­work will han­dle 356 mil­lion trips dur­ing Spring Fes­ti­val, up 9.7 per­cent from last year.

Af­ter Dec 30, tick­ets will be avail­able to buy on­line just 30 days be­fore the date of de­par­ture, while tick­ets at off­line lo­ca­tions will be avail­able 28 days in ad­vance.

XU CONGJUN / FOR CHINA DAILY

A pas­sen­ger Jiangsu prov­ince on Thursday af­ter pur­chas­ing it on­line.

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