New Year travel drama continues in China


Chinese passengers wait in a train, which is specially offered for migrant workers by local government, to depart at a railway station in Beijing on January 8, 2011, as they return home for the lunar Chinese New Year holiday.



In China, the start of each new year and the approach of the Lunar New Year means hundreds of millions of people will travel home to see their families.

Last year, it was an estimated 250 million people on the move, and their preferred method of of transport is typically the train. This year, China's scandal-plagued Ministry of Railways unrolled something to make the New Year travel season a bit less painful. But instead of making the process easier, China Railways online ticket buying system seems to have upped the number of complaints and problems prospective passengers face. First it was migrant workers -- a huge percentage of New Year travelers -- saying that the system was of no use to them because they don't have computer access.

Now new reports say the ministry didn't test the system before it was started, and it's prone to bugs and crashes. At the Economic Times, one Chinese student relays the trials of spending hours to buy train tickets home, even with the privilege of using a computer rather than standing in long lines at the train station.