Starting from Dec 31, 2013, train passengers are able to buy tickets online and via the phone up to 20 days ahead of their preferred departure time, the Ministry of Railways said. The seasonal measures cope with large numbers of travelers during the upcoming Spring Festival holiday.
The new rules give passengers 8 extra days to book the tickets. Previously, passengers were only able to book tickets 12 days in advance. Passengers who buy the tickets at reselling booths and railway stations will be able to buy the tickets 18 days ahead of the journeys, according to a statement posted on Friday on 12306.cn, the ministry’s website to buy tickets online.
Spring Festival, also known as the Chinese Lunar New Year, will begin on Feb. 10 this year. The busiest travel period will likely span from Jan. 26 to March 6. More than 224 million passengers are expected to travel via trains during the period, a year-on-year increase of 4.6 percent, according to the ministry. Spring Festival is China’s most important holiday of reunion, with most Chinese traveling to their hometowns to spend time with their relatives for the occasion.