China to have online coach ticketing for 27 provinces by year end
Online ticket booking for highway coach services will be implemented in 27 provinces by the end of this year according to the MOT.
Online ticket booking for highway coach services will be implemented in 27 provinces by the end of this year initially after the impending completion of the online ticketing system.
Online ticketing system to be implemented in two phases
The ticketing system will be implemented on the provincial level and then expanded to the national level in accordance with a notice by the Ministry of Transport (MOT).
MOT has issued directives to expedite passenger ticketing networks for coach services in the provinces and metropolitan areas of Jilin, Yunnan, Jiangsu, Guangdong, Henan, Gansu, Beijing, Jiangxi, Liaoning. Hubei, Hunan. Qinghai, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Chongqing, Fujian, Guizhou, Inner Mongolia, Heilongjiang, Shandong. Hebei, Hainan, Ningxia and Anhui.
The local authorities that have not yet submitted plans for developing provincial-level ticket booking systems, such as Shanghai, Guangxi, Zhejiang and Tianjin, are required to start work before end September this year and have the system ready for service by the end of 2016.
System to include stations of third tier and above
The MOT notice mandated enhanced cooperation between the state and the private sector to facilitate the development and operation of a national online highway coach ticketing system in accordance with market principles. Second-tier bus terminals and above will be covered in the first phase of the project, to be followed by third-tier terminals and above in the next phase.
Ticket information of bus terminals below the third-tier category will not be covered by the system for now, which means bus services departing from certain villages or towns cannot be reserved through the system.
Beijing explores smartphone solutions for coach ticketing
Beijing has already implemented online bus ticketing system through which passengers can buy tickets for coach services departing from bus terminals for long-distance routes, including Liuliqiao, Sihui and Zhaogongkou.
The Beijing Transport Department is now looking into leveraging smartphone apps to make it more convenient for residents to purchase tickets for long-distance coach services and pay online via e-payment or bank card.
With the new system in place, all long-distance coach services in the whole country will eventually be available for booking through various channels like telephone, internet or mobile phones, an industry observer said. Some provinces have already achieved online reservation of long-distance coach tickets. (Translation by David)