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January 25, 2010

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Railway tickets hotline swamped

DEMAND for railway tickets has overwhelmed a telephone booking hotline, said local railway authorities.

It's nearly impossible to reach a hotline ticket agent between 3pm and 4pm each day as tickets for the newest day of travel go on sale at 3pm. When the system works after 4pm, tickets for many destinations have already sold out.

Shanghai Railway Bureau officials said they will take measures to make the system work better. But it seems impossible to satisfy all callers due to huge demand with the approach of the Spring Festival, the busiest time of year for train travel.

The railway authorities estimate the ticket buying peak will start tomorrow. Officials said they would once again crackdown on scalpers to protect travelers.

According to the bureau, the provinces of Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan, as well as those in the northwest are most in demand.

Every afternoon before 3pm, long lines of ticket buyers appear at all 200 ticket booths on the North Square of Shanghai Railway Station.

Some queue up overnight to ensure they get tickets.


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