Beijing Railway to Sell Tickets 24 Hours During Busy Spring Festival

If you’ve ever been to China during Spring Festival (Chinese New Year), you know how impossible it is to make travel plans or book tickets during that time, as the whole country prepares to make the journey back home to see family and friends. It’s nice if you’re a foreigner living in a major metropolitan area, as whole cities empty out, traffic disappears, and you get a temporary respite from the sounds of construction.
Train tickets are particularly impossible to come by, as trains are the cheapest and most popular way return home. This article addresses a couple of ways that the transport authorities plan to address the problem this year.
It’s also interesting to note that bank cards (debit / credit cards) have been almost useless in China until the last decade or so, as restaurants, bars, smaller hotels, ticket offices and grocery stores rarely accept them. This, as we can see from this article, is gradually changing.
Interesting Vocabulary
召开 – zhào kāi – Convene
春运 – chūn yùn – Spring Festival travel season
广铁集团 – guǎng tiě jí tuán – Guangzhou Railway Group
刷卡 – shuā kǎ – To use / swipe a bank card
实行 – shí xíng – Implement
高峰 – gāo fēng – Peak


[January 16, 2011] Yesterday, the railroad ministry convened a press conference to discuss the Spring Festival travel season. This season, for the first time ever, the ministry will begin accepting bank cards for ticket sales. In Beijing, Shanghai, WuHan, NanChang, ChengDu, ZhengZhou and XiAn, the railroad office and Guangzhou Railway Group together launched bank card ticket sales at their 256 relatively large railway stations. To meet the needs of Spring Festival travelers, Beijing Station, Beijing West Station, Beijing South Station and other stations will implement 24-hour ticket sales. At Beijing West Station, 24-hour sales will be available in the North Square and South Square ticket offices. During peak sales times, Beijing Station and Beijing South Station will have 419 ticket windows open for business to ensure that sales can continue around the clock.

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