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Rail authorities under fire for flawed ticket services

SHANGHAI railway operator said yesterday it is hard to make immediate improvement of its online and phone ticket-booking services, a new practice fraught with glitches.

The railway department introduced the new services to reduce long lines in overcrowded ticketing booths during this year's holiday rush and to make it convenient for travelers, but the new practice drew torrents of criticism for being too slow and complicated.

"We've already increased the number of phones for the booking hotline up to 10,000 sets but we still could not meet the demand," said a Shanghai Railway Administration official.

A record 29 million people will be leaving and coming to Shanghai during the 40-day Chinese New Year's travel peak which starts on Sunday. The number represents a 5.1 percent increase from a year ago.

The official said the city's three passenger train stations will be handling 7.05 million travelers in 40 days, up 6.2 percent from last year's peak period.


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