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January 14, 2010

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Home » Metro » Public Services

Time-shift aims to shorten rail queues

HOPING to spare rail-ticket buyers the need to queue up overnight, the city railway stations plan to sell Spring Festival-travel tickets in the afternoon instead of early in the morning.

Railway authorities are also setting up more ticket booths to try to keep the lines shorter.

"Convenience is what our customers want," said Liu Yijun, director of the ticket center at the Shanghai Railway Station. "We make sure they get it."

The sales will start at 3pm, instead of 8am. People will be able to buy tickets up to 11 days ahead of the boarding date.

In past years, anxious and exhausted buyers, many of them migrant workers, lined up all night to gain an advantage at the ticket windows.

Stations provided shelter, hot water and coats for shivering buyers facing cold winds.

This year, rail authorities estimate the daily passenger count during the holiday will reach 200,000 at the city's two stations. The crowds will peak from February 3 to February 11, three days ahead of the festival.

More than 150 ticket booths will be added to the city's 500-plus booths. Officials said the waiting time, previously an hour, should be cut to about 20 minutes.

The early sales of group tickets for migrant workers and students should help ease the crush, officials said.

Since Monday, more than 600 companies booked 162,000 train tickets for their migrant workers.


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