A farewell to the Paper Train Ticket

During the “Forum on Intelligent HSR Development & 10th Anniversary of Beijing-Tianjin Intercity HSR”, Lu Dongfu, the general manager of China Railway, announced that the electronic train ticket, after a trial run in Hainan, is to be expanded across the country, indicating that the paper version will gradually be a thing of the past.

China Railway Corp affirmed on its official website that from November 22, the railway department has embarked on the trial implementation of electronic train tickets on Hainan’s island-looping high-speed Railway (653 km) and the results will help the railway operator improve its e-ticket service before launching it nationwide sometime next year. The latest trial allows people to check in without producing a paper ticket, which was previously necessary even for passengers who had bought tickets online.

Implementing an “electronic train ticket” literally means to dissociate the physical train ticket from its functions as the contract, train-taking qualification and expense reimbursement evidence, which will then, in conformity with relative legal provisions, be converted to an electronic train ticket. With E-tickets, passengers can save time in the processes of buying tickets, and checking-in.

Passengers who have bought a ticket online can then check in by swiping their ID cards, or a QR code generated by an official app on mobile phones, in other words, with one’s own ID card or a mobile phone, passengers are able to check in. If any high-speed train passengers buy train tickets in the railway station, they will be given a purchase list, which looks like a supermarket receipt, containing information such as train number and seat number, but the list cannot be used as a ticket for checking-in and the entrance is only allowed by swiping their ID card in under the circumstance.

China is paving the way for "paperless tickets", and in some big cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hangzhou and Guangzhou, these have already been equipped with fast tracks with face recognition machines, where passengers can board trains just by showing their faces.