To better serve the Spring Festival rush, or chunyun, China Railway Corp. has launched a new function on its official ticket booking website, www.12306.cn, and its smartphone app to spare passengers from having to repeatedly refresh the webpage to learn about canceled tickets.
With the function, if the desired trains are sold out, users can pay the fares in advance on the booking website or app and if any are refunded or surplus tickets are made available, the system will purchase tickets for them.
The system automatically purchases the tickets for the consumer and outperforms other ticket-snatching software in response and accuracy, according to a release by Guangzhou Railway Group Corp. yesterday, the first day of ticket sales for the Spring Festival transport season, which usually lasts about 40 days, including the 15-day pre-festival period.
The new function will go into effect Thursday, but the service is limited to certain busy train lines during the trial period.
During the pre-festival period, the function is only accessible to passengers who are taking trains from Beijing, the Shanghai-Nanjing-Hangzhou area or Guangdong to areas within Sichuan or Chongqing.
During the post-festival period, only trains departing from areas within Sichuan and Chongqing going to Beijing, the Shanghai-Nanjing-Hangzhou area or Guangdong will provide the passenger-friendly booking service.
Each applicant can make one purchase order that includes two choices of trains on each of two consecutive days, and each order can book tickets for up to three passengers.
Ticket buyers can set a deadline for ticket purchases and cancel reservations for alternative tickets at any time after submitting their applications. The system will refund the advanced fares and inform the applicants by text message.
Over 413 million trips are expected to be made by rail during the upcoming 40-day chunyun, an 8.3 percent year-on-year increase, according to national railway authorities.
Tickets can be purchased online or by phone 30 days in advance of travel, or at railway stations, ticket agencies and self-ticketing machines 28 days ahead.