As China embarks on its annual Spring Festival travel rush, its railway system has launched a new round of ticket sales through the official online ticketing platform called "12306," which will accommodate the massive wave of passengers expected to return to work after the long Spring Festival holidays, highlighting the peak season for post-holiday ticket sales.
Despite the railway's efforts to meet the surge in demand, the supply of tickets appears insufficient in the face of surging passenger numbers, drawing significant attention from third-party platforms that reportedly offer ticket scalping services. In response, the Railway Department issued a statement addressing passenger concerns.
China Railway has implemented measures to maintain order and fairness in ticket sales, which include real-time monitoring and identification of scalping and hoarding behavior, enhancing the ticketing system's capacity to handle the high volumes. According to China Railway, the "speed-up packages" offered through scalping software does not improve the chances of securing tickets.
As of Sunday, the railway '12306' system had processed sales of approximately 398 million tickets since the onset of the Spring Festival ticketing period on January 12, underscoring its capacity to manage extraordinarily high volumes of transactions amidst significant demand pressures.
According to China Railway, innovative measures have been introduced to combat the misuse of scalping software, such as refusal of abnormal ticket purchases. Additional features like sale reminders, pre-filled ticket purchasing requests, and a standby ticket purchasing system have been rolled out to enhance the booking experience and increase the chances of securing tickets.
Despite those efforts, the intense travel rush has led to a significant imbalance between ticket supply and demand. The railway has maximized its transport capacity, operating at historical highs. In the first nine days of the Spring Festival travel rush, the railway system has transported 11.834 million passenger trips daily, offering up to 10.7 million passenger ticket seats each day.
And, the Railway Department emphasized that tickets are allocated based on a principle that balances long-distance and short-distance travel needs, ensuring efficient use of transport capacity while prioritizing long-haul passengers. It also recommends that passengers use the official '12306' platform and are advised against relying on third-party platforms to avoid additional costs and potential misuse of personal information.