中国法律博客
ChinaLegalBlog.com
Real-Name Ticket System: Living With Skepticism
媒体来源: 中国法律博客

We are now right up against the Spring Festival period, which among other things means that hundreds of millions of people in China are attempting to secure means of travel back to their home towns. It's also the season for thieves, but that's another issue.

The perennial problem is an inefficient, and frankly unfair, travel system that sees all kinds of wacky and corrupt goings-on that make it extremely difficult for people to not only buy things like train tickets in a "normal" way, but also to do so at reasonable prices. Because the system is the way it is, you get brokers (sometimes several layers) that buy up huge blocks of tickets and then sell them off at inflated prices. Often they are assisted by folks on the inside, people working at train stations, airlines, etc.

This leads to some very bizarre and scary occurrences. For example, you can see hundreds of people waiting on line for hours and hours (in the Winter, mind you) to buy train tickets, and then after the first person on line finishes his transaction, all the tickets have mysteriously been sold out.

Government to the rescue? A pilot project now underway in Guangdong looks interesting.

Some 100 million yuan has been spent to upgrade the ticket-selling systems at 37 railway stations in Guangdong, Sichuan and Guizhou provinces and Chongqing municipality, according to ministry spokesman Wang Yongping.

Passengers need to show identification when buying train tickets at these railway stations, and each passenger can buy no more than three tickets. ID information will be printed on the ticket, and passengers need to present both ID and the ticket to get on the train. (China Daily)

This "real-name" system, where your purchases are linked to your ID and you are limited in the number of tickets you can buy, sounds like a good idea. I've waited in those kinds of lines before, and they're not fun. China queues are quite odd, actually. I could be #37 in the line, and yet after two or three hours, I've mysteriously moved down to #159. The line doesn't get any longer, but it does tend to get a lot fatter thanks to the queue jumpers.

I'm a skeptic, and a cynic, but I appreciate this system as it shows the government trying to solve a problem that effects normal folks. Moreover, the real-name method seems like a reasonable way to go. Sure, there can still be corruption and other insider nonsense going on, but this should be an improvement over the current system.

So I was slightly depressed when I asked two different people what they thought of the new system. Both said that it was just a way for the government to look busy and concerned, that nothing would come of it, and that the usual corruption and cartel activity would continue in some form or another. In other words, nothing would change.

I suppose it's not surprising. These kinds of games have been going on for many years now, and perhaps the government should have stepped in years ago. I don't think the cynics are going to change their outlook until these kinds of activities are cleaned up and we get some real transparency.

That might take a while. In the meantime, I hope the pilot project is a success.

Tags:


© Stan for China Hearsay, 2010. |
Permalink |
One comment |
Add to
del.icio.us

Post tags: