Web Comments

The pain to get a train ticket

By Zhang Jin (chinadaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2010-02-03 17:49
Large Medium Small

Having been away from my hometown for six years, I made up my mind last week to go home this year for the all-too-important Spring Festival.

Very soon, I found it was a bad decision, as I cannot get a single train ticket.

Don't blame me for the ignorance of the pre-Spring Festival travel woe. I knew 2.54 billion journeys will be made in 40 days, making train tickets the most wanted commodities in China.

I was fully prepared. To be precise, I thought I was.

Ahead of Tuesday - the first day the tickets of the train to my hometown on February 11 were available to ordinary buyers - I asked several travel agencies to book the tickets. I also phoned two well-connected friends for help.

But today all of them told me they failed to get any one, because "the train you plan to get on board is so popular that even some insiders cannot be of any help."

Disappointed? Yes, a little bit. Fortunately, however, there is the last resort. Googling on the Web, I found a lot of posts peddling the tickets of my journey.

We all know that is the rule of the game. No matter how difficult it is to get a ticket from official channels, those with close connections can still lay hands on some.

If the rule plays well, I may get two tickets very soon, And not surprisingly I will pay an extra 100 yuan ($14.6) or so for each, depending on the relationship between supply and demand.

Many proposals have been made to address the ticket pain - punish those insiders, put scalpers behind bars or launch the real-name ticket system.

They may be helpful, but are unlikely to root out the problem, so long as tens of millions of people flock home in a short period on a limited number of trains.

Now that not enough trains have been, or will be, put on track for the unusually high number of home returners and holiday-goers, let the game play.