Train ticket glitch results in a lawsuit

Updated: 2016-02-23 07:26

By PENG YINING(China Daily)

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Train ticket glitch results in a lawsuit

A snapshot of the verification test requiring customers to click all the radios in the pictures. [Photo from web]

Visually impaired man pushes company for apology, compensation

A court in Beijing's Haidian district earlier this month accepted the lawsuit of a visually impaired man who was suing China Railway Corp, asking for compensation and upgrades to the official train ticket website to make it easier for people like him to buy tickets online.

The man, who asked to be identified only as Chen, said he brought the lawsuit on Jan 25, and the court accepted the case a couple of days before Spring Festival.

Because the website only provides graphic verification codes, which screen-reading software cannot interpret, Chen said he was unable to buy a ticket online at the end of last year during the Spring Festival travel rush and had to ask for a day's leave and spend 110 yuan ($17) on taxi fees to buy a ticket at Beijing West Railway Station.

Demanding written apologies, a promise to upgrade, payment of his legal fees, 110 yuan for the transportation fee and compensation of one yuan, Chen and his lawyer filed the lawsuit against China Railway Corp,'s parent company, as well as China Railway Information Technology Center and the China Academy of Railway Sciences, which designed and built the website.

"I called the website' shotline many times and wrote a letter to the company about the problem but received no feedback from them, so I decided to sue," Chen said in a telephone interview. "Now the Spring Festival holiday is over. I am waiting to be called to court."

The railway company has not issued a statement about the lawsuit.

Chen, a visually impaired masseur in Beijing, said he can operate computers and smartphones proficiently with the help of screen-reading software. But buying a ticket to his hometown in Gansu province became impossible ever since upgraded its verification codes in 2015 from a combination of numerals and letters to the current photo matching model.

"Buying train tickets during the festival travel rush is hard enough, and even harder for people like me," he said.

The railway has said the picture verification targets ticket scalpers and software intended to make a profit from people by purchasing large blocks of tickets and reselling them at a higher price with commission fees.