High-speed train tickets a problem
Updated: 2014-07-22 09:52
I visited China recently and traveled by high-speed trains, which were most impressive. But I realized that it is not easy for foreign tourists to book tickets for these trains.
While a foreign tourist is able to get the train schedules from mobile phone applications, he/she cannot buy tickets from the self-operated machines because he/she does not have a Chinese identity card. Therefore, a foreign tourist has to queue up at a ticket counter to buy a train ticket. Another problem is that the ticket counters are not open round the clock.
For example, I wanted to take the 07:20 am train from Hangzhou East in Zhejiang province to Nanjing in Jiangsu province. But when I reached Hangzhou East Station around 06:30 am, I found to my dismay that the ticket counter opened only at 08:00 am. The choice I had was to avail of the service of the "helpful" locals hanging around the ticketing machines, who offered to get me a ticket at an inflated rate, or wait until the ticket counter opened and, in the process, miss my train.
I hope the railway authorities would consider allowing tourists, especially overseas Chinese like me, the option of booking tickets for high-speed trains from self-ticketing machines.
LEE YONG SE, via e-mail
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