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SNAFU: ID Required for Train Ticket Purchase

SNAFU: ID Required for Train Ticket Purchase

Old Jun 4, 11, 1:34 pm
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SNAFU: ID Required for Train Ticket Purchase

Implemented June 1, all passengers are required to produce ID, to purchase tickets for Express trains, "C" "D" and "G".

For foreigners without a residence card that means you have to produce your passport to verify the passport number to be entered, which will be visible
if a scan of the ticket is made.

Unlike airlines tickets, the train tickets are only sold 10 days prior to the
departure. You can't book on line, you can't use a machine to book the ticket, as the machines won't read passports.

Want some one to buy a ticket for you in advance of your travel to China,
not anymore.

Better plan on wasting a lot of extra time with this idiotic requirement.

So much for the billion dollar HSR system, skip the hassle and buy an airline
ticket, will save you money and grief.
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Old Jun 4, 11, 2:06 pm
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Thank you for the heads up!
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Old Jun 4, 11, 2:33 pm
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Could we give a copy of our passport to the hotel concierge who will be buying tickets for us? I would think all the Chinese people who make extra money performing the service of buying train tickets for visitors to China will be most unhappy that they will be losing their earnings from this job.

What about buying tickets at travel agencies instead of train stations-will they have to have the passport? This will be such a clusterf**k if truly implemented for leisure travelers. How are the tour companies going to handle this?
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Old Jun 4, 11, 5:14 pm
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Tickets can be purchased through a travel agency, your physical passport must be submitted. They must input the passport number manually. The name is not input as ticketing personnel are not expect to be able to read english.

Anyone can purchase tickets at train station for others as long as they
have the IDs. In the instance of foreign travelers they would have to wait in
line and physically give the ticket agent the passport so they can manually
input the passport numbers which will not visibly appear on the ticket
, only when scanned.

At Beiiing South railway, which only handles express trains, they have hired
hundreds of young girls to act as additional security as they have to
check each passenger to verify they have the correct ticket before they are even allowed to enter the station. But that didn't quite work as the windows to buy the tickets are inside the station.

Be prepared to make a special trip to the station to buy your ticket in advance of your travel date. Also the wait in line to buy the ticket could be
twice as long as the journey.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english201...c_13907425.htm
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Old Jun 4, 11, 5:38 pm
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[QUOTE=susiesan;16503380]Could we give a copy of our passport to the hotel concierge who will be buying tickets for us? QUOTE]

Its advisable to keep your passport in your possession and not
surrender it to anyone unknown.
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Old Jun 5, 11, 12:14 am
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I wonder how this will be implemented/enforced...
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Old Jun 5, 11, 4:24 am
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Originally Posted by mnredfox View Post
I wonder how this will be implemented/enforced...
Looks like they got a real big bust right off the bat.

http://news.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne...04-282340.html

The theory of security doesn't make any sense:
There is no "don't ride train list".

The theory of scalping doesn't make sense either. The peak season
scalping during spring festival was aimed at the slower trains
not CRH. If you can afford high speed train you can afford to fly, so
there is little or no market for scalpers on high speed rail.
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Old Jun 5, 11, 7:14 am
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Originally Posted by anacapamalibu View Post
If you can afford high speed train you can afford to fly, so there is little or no market for scalpers on high speed rail.
As someone who is considering taking a new job in Shanghai (and, also maintaining my Beijing gig), I beg to differ about this point (y640 << y1250). While I expect that we'll be seeing a lot less of that y1250 nonsense once the train is online, y1000 is still greater than y640.
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Old Jun 5, 11, 9:58 am
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What a colossal hassle for tourists who have limited time. Half of a day in each city will have to be spent going to train stations, waiting in lines, buying tickets days ahead of time for short 1 hour train rides, like between Shanghai-Suzhou or Suzhou-Hangzhou in my case. This will take all the spontaneity out of doing something at the last minute or changing a planned itinerary.

I am so bummed I hope by the time I get to China in October the clever Chinese will have figured out a way to get around all this and be able to provide the service of buying train tickets for visitors and making themselves some money.

Do any of the better Western hotels have travel agencies in them where I can get these train tickets? If not, could I trust someone from the hotel with my actual passport to go to the travel agency? Will the ticket sellers accept a copy of the passport page if all they need is the passport number?
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Old Jun 5, 11, 10:45 am
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I am not sure that this ID thing for CDG trains is going to remain a workable proposition for the system. I am hoping the entire thing collapses under its own weight by end of summer. It definitely presents an impediment for foreigners to ride these trains esp for short-term visitors needing longer distances on sleepers. There is no legitimate reason to not be able to use a photocopy of passport info page to enable a third party to purchase. Particularly if the ticket will be checked during actual boarding or journey against the original passport.

I have always been of the opinion that scalping on the CDG fast trains was never much of a problem in the first place (except Ch New Year time). So this ID thing would be much better used for the KTZ trains.

Last edited by jiejie; Jun 5, 11 at 10:52 am
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Old Jun 5, 11, 11:51 am
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Originally Posted by jiejie View Post
I am hoping the entire thing collapses under its own weight by end of summer.
I'm willing to bet it will play out in that manner. Even if it doesn't collapse in full, I think the end game will be acceptable to us.
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Old Jun 5, 11, 12:30 pm
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Foreigners without residence cards are always supposed to have their passports with them at all times anyway, right?

How is this working with the automatic machines at Shanghai Main Station? I'm out of town, but recently I realized I could buy tickets for all the regional CRH trains from the machines even if Shanghai wasn't my starting city....ex: Hangzhou-Nanjing. I would hate to now have to wait on line at that place to buy a ticket.....
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Old Jun 5, 11, 3:47 pm
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Originally Posted by susiesan View Post
Will the ticket sellers accept a copy of the passport page if all they need is the passport number?
At this time, no. But the system has only been in place for less than a
week so things could change. They have stepped up security at some
frontier entry-exit points to include biometric identification through
photographs. Passports with electronic chips embedded have digitized
information which they compare to a photo taken of the person at the
point of entry, software analysis determines if its a match.

Also when applying for a Chinese visa, the photo submitted is digitized and
and an algorithim is generated which is included in the electronic
information that allows frontier entry-exit officers to ID the person.

This is not just for foreigners but also applies to Chinese nationals.
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Old Jun 5, 11, 10:14 pm
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china train info

Originally Posted by susiesan View Post
What a colossal hassle for tourists who have limited time. Half of a day in each city will have to be spent going to train stations, waiting in lines, buying tickets days ahead of time for short 1 hour train rides, like between Shanghai-Suzhou or Suzhou-Hangzhou in my case. This will take all the spontaneity out of doing something at the last minute or changing a planned itinerary.
In Hangzhou, i used the concierge at the Marriott travel desk to buy my Hangzhou to Shanghai train ticket. Cost was an extra 5 rmb. & they had my passport info on file at the hotel ( A check in hassle always in China !). the train ticket was delivered to my room in about 90 minutes.

On another 'train' ticket note. the new SH to BJ fast train (5 hours ?) has over 21 possible city stops when it opens. (late June ?) Not all of the stops will occur on each & every train. So be careful on the variable stop schedule if you desire to get off in between SH and or BJ.

Could be interesting...

Last edited by Jiatong; Jun 5, 11 at 10:45 pm Reason: clarity
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Old Jun 5, 11, 10:49 pm
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Originally Posted by Jiatong View Post
In Hangzhou, i used the concierge at the Marriott travel desk to buy my Hangzhou to Shanghai train ticket. Cost was an extra 5 rmb. & they had my passport info on file at the hotel ( A check in hassle always in China !). the ticket was delivered to my room in about 90 minutes.

Could be interesting...
This is how I was planning on getting the few train tickets I need to buy. But this method won't work anymore, Jiatong, as supposedly you must present the original passport in person yourself, if I'm reading this correctly.

Does this new policy apply to the new fast and bullet trains near Shanghai? Are these considered C D G trains? Or does this policy only apply to sleeper trains? I'm not familiar yet on the train system in China-haven't gotten to that part of trip planning yet.
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