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January 10, 2010

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ID plan to foil scalpers

CHINA will this year pilot a system requiring train travelers to buy tickets with their own IDs to crack down on hoarding by scalpers during the annual holiday travel peak.

A traveler's name and ID card number will be printed on the ticket and the ID will also be required for boarding, the Ministry of Railway said. A student ID card and foreign passport will also be acceptable.

The new system will be implemented at 37 stations along trunk lines through the southern Guangdong and Hunan provinces, as well as southwestern Sichuan, where large numbers of migrant workers arrive and leave.

The system will be implemented between January 30 and February 13. This year's Lunar New Year falls on February 14, with travelers able to buy tickets 10 days before departure.

Severe ticket shortages have long been a headache for Chinese authorities, notably during peak travel seasons when people move across the nation for family reunions and vacations.

The situation is exacerbated as scalpers stockpile tickets for resale at higher prices for huge profits. The National Development and Reform Commission has predicted the nation's railway network will carry 210 million people this holiday, a rise of 9.5 percent from a year ago.


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