A high-speed test train arrives at Guangzhou South Railway Station from Hong Kong on Jan 11, 2023. Hong Kong residents with plans to visit the Chinese mainland by high-speed rail have called for more online tickets and improvements to the online and offline ticketing process. (PARKER ZHENG / CHINA DAILY)
Hong Kong residents with plans to visit the Chinese mainland by high-speed rail have called for more online tickets and improvements to the online and offline ticketing process.
On the second day since long-haul high-speed rail tickets went on sale once again, crowds of residents gathered at Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Station to buy tickets via counters and self-service ticket machines.
From April 1, the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong Express Rail Link will fully resume long-distance train service, and passengers will be able to travel directly to 66 mainland stations, including those in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Wuhan. The number of daily trains will also be increased to 164
On Thursday, a large number of residents waited for hours at the station to buy tickets, many of whom plan to visit the mainland during the upcoming Qingming Festival and Easter holidays.
From April 1, the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong Express Rail Link will fully resume long-distance train service, and passengers will be able to travel directly to 66 mainland stations, including those in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Wuhan. The number of daily trains will also be increased to 164.
Hong Kong resident Tina Lee Mei-wing wants to visit Chaozhou of Guangzhou province on April 7 but found that all the online tickets for that day were sold out shortly after they were released on Friday.
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She arrived at the station at 9 am to buy offline tickets and spent at least three hours waiting in the queue. There were different ticketing queues — one for “cross-border tickets” for passengers departing from Hong Kong and going directly to mainland cities; the other for a vending machine selling “mainland tickets” for passengers who need to travel between different mainland cities. The station provides a quota of 1,500 tickets for each type of ticket every day.
Lee said the station lacks enough guidance to enable passengers to understand the difference, and many people, including herself, chose the wrong queue and had to queue up again, which wasted a lot of time.
Christie Chow bought the tickets to Shanwei, Guangdong province, for April 4 via a ticket machine at the station, after online tickets were sold out.
She said that self-ticket purchasing was relatively convenient, and she only spent half an hour queuing up. But she noted that buying a ticket in this way requires original personal documents and e-payment, which may present problems for the elderly.
Some people purchased offline tickets through travel agencies. Diane Feng, who was also unable to buy a ticket online, went to a travel agency in Hong Hum to avoid the crowds at West Kowloon Station. She said the agency did not charge an additional service fee for the ticket and there are a lot of agencies offering such ticketing services.
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Although the offline channels make it convenient for residents to buy tickets, she still hopes more online tickets can be made available, which would benefit a greater number of residents.
In addition to requesting that the number of online tickets be increased, residents have also called on the authorities to improve other arrangements with online purchasing, such as allowing passengers to use traditional Chinese when registering an account on the online platform, and fixing a problem which prevents some Hong Kong phone numbers from receiving verification codes.
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