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Hassle-free travel from Xi'an

From : China Daily

A passenger and his child board a train with the help of railway station attendants at the Changsha Railway Station in the capital of Central China's Hunan province on Sunday. The 40-day-long Spring Festival travel rush started on the day. [Guo Liliang/China Daily]
XI'AN, Jan. 9, 2012 -- A new measure of train ticket booking implemented over the weekend, especially for migrant workers, seems to have worked in Xi'an, capital city of Northwest China's Shaanxi province. They found the new system easier to handle, which added to the joy of going home for the coming Spring Festival.

According to Li Yudan, deputy director of Xi'an Railway Bureau, migrant workers had the priority to book train tickets. They could buy group tickets for a minimum of five people.

"Earlier the facility would be offered to groups comprising at least 20 people. Recently some provinces offered the facility to 10-member groups. We decided to decrease the numbers to five in order to provide more convenience to migrant workers," Li said.

Shen Fengmin, a migrant worker from Central China's Hubei province who works in Xi'an, was happy with the new system which allowed her to get hold of tickets with little fuss at the height of Spring Festival rush, which lasts from Jan 8 to Feb 16.

"I have just booked group tickets for my six county fellows and me, and we will get the tickets four days later. I came to the railway station several times last week but could not get tickets as there were too many people lining up in front of the ticket selling windows," the 27-year-old Shen told China Daily on Sunday.

Shen and his 6 county fellows work in a construction site in the city and will go back home in Xiaogan, Hubei province for the festival on Jan 20.

Ticket window No 27 at Xi'an Railway Station was designated especially for migrant workers for block bookings and those who had proper certificates could get the tickets in three to five days after registering.

"Of the 1,086 tickets issued to migrant workers yesterday, there were six group bookings and I hope more migrant workers use the service which is an easier way to get hold of tickets," said Wang Gang, deputy director of passenger transportation office of Xi'an Railway Bureau.

Moreover, the staff at the station would be sent to some of the large construction sites in the city to sell train tickets to the migrant workers next week, Wang said.

According to Wang, some 7.35 million people were expected to travel by train during the Spring Festival transportation period, 2 percent higher than that last year.

At present, Xi'an Railway Station has opened 565 ticket selling windows, 119 more than in normal days. The station also installed 10 automatic ticket dispensing machines which will be put into operation on Jan 10. People who booked the tickets online or by telephone can get the tickets from the machine by using their ID card.

According to Wang, some 230,000 tickets were sold daily last week and 66.3 percent of the sold tickets were booked through telephone.

Besides the new ticket booking policy for migrant workers, the railway station also reserved 589 seats on 60 trains starting from the station for the disabled.

The No 1 ticket window at the station is now reserved for the disabled.