China to sell train tickets on smartphones

Ministry of Railways plans to launch a new service that will allow passengers to buy train tickets via smartphones, in hopes to prevent the existing online platform from crashing due to heavy traffic.

China's Ministry of Railways said it plans to launch a new service for passengers to book and pay for train tickets via smartphones running either Apple's iOS and Google's Android.

Xinhua reported Wednesday a trial period had been scheduled to allow passengers in Shanghai to make ticket reservations on certain dates during a eight-day pilot starting Sep. 30, which encompasses the Mid-Autumn Festival and Chinese National Day week-long holiday.

The ministry estimated 75.4 million train trips will be taken between Sep. 27 and Oct. 7 this year, averaging 6.86 million trips per day.

The smartphone service was built to prevent system failures if a huge number of users log on to the ministry's online ticketing platform, it added. During the Spring Festival--also known as the Chinese New Year--in January, the online ticketing system crashed due to overwhelming demand, angering thousands of users in China.

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