China’s Ministry of Railway has announced a new policy for passengers purchasing high-speed rail tickets from June 1, 2011, requiring them to produce some form of identification.
Local and foreign passengers buying tickets for C, D or G train services – codes which refer to high-speed services – will need to provide documentation in the interest of increasing security and avoiding illegal sales of these passes.
Forms of acceptable identification include passports, entry-exit permits, residence permits and letters issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or local embassies, as well as photocopies of original ID. Driver’s licences are not accepted. Train tickets will bear the passenger’s name and ID number, and in addition, random onboard checks will be carried out.
This latest development adds to an already confusing situation where no online booking system or online schedule is available. Passengers need to book at least six days in advance, and when purchasing tickets at train stations, usually only cash is accepted (see story here). But despite the inconvenience, high-speed trains are generating high demand with their proposition of cutting short travel times.
The much-awaited rail link between China’s two hot spots, Shanghai and Beijing, is scheduled to begin operations some time in June.