BEIJING - An official with China's Ministry of Railways said Tuesday that a train ticket booking system on the Internet will be put into operation nationwide this year.
The online booking system would relieve the burden on railway stations and provide more conveniences to passengers, said ministry spokesman Wang Yongping during an online interview hosted by xinhuanet.com.
Demand for train tickets is always high in China, especially during the Spring Festival, the most important holiday of the year. Passengers desperate to return home lined up for hours in freezing weather to purchase tickets.
Also, a real-name ticket purchasing system, which requires proven ID numbers when purchasing a ticket, will be expanded to high-speed railways following the trial run in several pilot stations during this year's Spring Festival travel rush, Wang said.
Throughout the 40-day migration period that started on February 3, China's railways carried a record 221 million passengers, among which almost one-fifth traveled on the high-speed railways.
Wang said that the real-name system proved to be very helpful in ensuring railway security and cracking down on ticket scalping.
China's high-speed railways started operations in April 2007 and have carried more than 600 million passengers. Also, according to Wang, there have been no reported accidents, so far.
However, Wang noted that in spite of owning the world's second longest railways, China still faces bottlenecks in railway development such as strained carrying capacities and difficulties in providing tickets for citizens.
In the next five years, China will build more high-standard regular railways with an average speed of about 200 Km per hour nationwide, while adding more high-speed railways in populous and developed areas, Wang added.