Lawyers seek info on Spring Festival bookings

Updated: 2013-01-21 07:57

By Zhao Yinan (China Daily)

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Frustrated lawyers have called on China's rail authority to disclose how many train tickets are reserved for official use during the Spring Festival travel rush.

Requests submitted by two Beijing attorneys to the Ministry of Railways on Friday urged the authority to release the total number of train tickets available for sale between Jan 26 and March 6, this year's peak travel season, and the actual number being sold.

They also asked for information on the ratio of tickets being allocated to different booking systems, such as ticket booths and online sales.

Lawyer Xiao Wenbin said the express mail real-time system indicates that the ministry received the request for information application on Saturday, but the lawyers are yet to hear back from the authority.

Ticket allocation and the number of tickets being reserved for official use is of vital interest to the public, especially during the annual Lunar New Year holiday, when many rely on trains to return home, he said.

Xiao said he hopes the information can help reveal how many tickets the authorities have put aside for official use or any other acts of unfairness, if any.

Xiao said he had difficulties obtaining a train ticket this year.

"My hometown is Hengyang, Hunan province, a major exporter of migrant workers, so it is always hard to get a ticket home during the annual Spring Rush."

Xiao said he had no choice but to buy a ticket to Guilin, in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, a nearby region, for 50 yuan ($8) more than the ticket to Hengyang.

"I can get off when the train passes Hengyang. I don't know the reason but usually it is easier to get a ticket if the journey is longer," he said.

According to the country's government information disclosure code, the rail authority has to decide if it will disclose the required information and the reason for its decision within 15 working days.

A delayed reply needs to be approved by information disclosure authorities and should take no longer than 30 working days.


(China Daily 01/21/2013 page5)