Real-Name Ticket Policy
Booking Office at Railway StationThe policy has been applicable to high speed and bullet trains (C, G, D) since June, 2011. From January 1, 2012, this policy applies to all trains in China. The policy is taken to relieve the difficulty in buying tickets and effectively stop scalpers who profit a lot in trading rail tickets especially during the Spring Festival travel rush every year. Passengers should buy tickets and get on trains with the presentation of their own valid ID certificates.
Valid ID certificates that can be shown to buy a 'real-name ticket' mainly include: Chinese citizen ID card, passport, Permit of Inland Entry and Exit for Hong Kong and Macau Residents, Permit of Mainland land Entry and Exit for Taiwan Residents, Home-return Permit, Permit for Mainland Residents to Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, Residence Permit for Foreigners, Aliens' Exit-Entry Permit, Diplomat Certificate, Consulate Certificate, Seafarer Certificate, etc. First four certificates are applicable for online reservation.
One valid ID certificate is allowed to buy one ticket on the same date and in the same train, except for children with accompanying adults. If you are abroad, you can ask your Chinese friends help you process the booking by presenting the original or a copy of your passport, and also his/her own ID certificate.
The real-name policy is also implemented in the check-in system. The pilot project is taken into action in Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Chengdu and their subordinates, totaling 50 stations. The passenger's name and the number of ID certificate will be printed on the ticket. Passengers should hold the tickets with their own ID certificates, get a checkup and then pass the security and check-in in those stations.
Where to buy?
• Online Booking with China Railway Customer Service Center: Passengers can book online with China Railway Customer Service Center (www.12306.cn). From the beginning of 2012, tickets of all trains are available online. While booking, it is valid to present one’s passport, mainland travel permit for Macau / Hong Kong / Taiwan residents or Chinese citizen ID card, however the website only has Chinese version and only offers online reservation service to its registered users, for tickets in 1-10 days usually (1-12 days in advance for 2012 Spring Festival Rush). Payment online are applicable for bank card of the Bank of China, China Merchants Bank, Agricultural Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and bank cards stipulated by China UnionPay. The users should open up the e-currency payment service. In the near future, passengers can choose seats when booking the bullet train tickets online. The seat number is made up of a digital number and a letter. The digital number shows the row, while the letter indicates the seat position. There are totally 5 letters to indicate the position including A, B, C, D, and F. Among them, A or F represents a seat by the window; C or D represent a seat by the corridor; B represents a seat in the middle of the three-seat.
• Telephone booking is available in several cities but only for local citizens (95105105 for Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Wuhan, Nanchang, Taiyuan, Shenyang, Zhengzhou, Lanzhou, Jinan and their subordinate stations, 96006 for Chengdu and 96688 for Xian).
Crowded Waiting Hall of a Railway Station
during Spring Festival Travel Rush
• Railway Station: At the booking offices of railway stations, passengers could purchase the tickets on the spot or a few days in advance. In these popular cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai and Xian, the booking offices are opened 24 hours round the clock.
• Designated Booking Office: Generally, passengers could purchase the rail tickets 3~10 days (20 days for Z and D trains) ahead of travel time at the booking offices distributed throughout a city. An additional service charge of CNY5 per ticket should be paid.
• Travel Agency: It is often more convenient to obtain your tickets through a reliable travel agency or at the Reception Desk of your hotel. While this is both convenient and can save time, relevant service charge is required, maybe more if you require a delivery service.
1. The pre-sale period may be adjusted temporarily during the rush Chinese holidays or festivals, such as Chinese New Year, National Holiday and summer vacation. To avoid disappointment, it is suggested that you book through an agency as early as possible.
2. Scalper, Huangniu or Piaofanzi in Chinese, refers to those who buy tickets repeatedly and resell them at higher prices. They loiter at the railway station trying to sell their tickets for a profit. This practice is of course illegal in China and it is not recommended to buy tickets from them. Some sell fake tickets that are difficult to distinguish from the real ones. We supplied samples with some facts below to identify the authenticity of a ticket.
3. Children between 1.2M and 1.5M are charged at a half price while those under 1.2M are admitted for free. Please note that children are asked to be accompanied by adults on the train.
How to identify the authenticity of a train ticket?
Sample (Click to enlarge)
Ticket of Multiple Unit Train (Click to enlarge)
1. Watermark: Clear watermark of CR and 中国铁路 must be printed.
2. Feel: The authentic ticket should be smooth to the touch. To be opposite, some fake ones may be rough feel, the words of which are easily to rub out or not neatly.
3. Flexibility: Roll up and twist the ticket, an authentic one could resume its original shape.
4. Comparison: Please compare the ticket with an authentic one if you already have.
5. Code: Every ticket has a set of code at the upper left (e.g. 198A001524). You could find a corresponding set of code at the lower left (e.g. A0-0152-4).
6. Anti-fake Pattern: At the lower right of every ticket, there is an anti-fake two-dimensional pattern which could record train no. and date.