Home / China / That's Life Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read | Comment
Life equally tough on other side of ticket counter
Adjust font size:

Jin Xing leaves home for work before 7 am every day and never finishes before 11 pm. A break of 15 minutes for lunch is the only one she gets.

She spends the rest of the time in front of a computer, limiting her sips from her teacup because she cannot afford to go to the toilet too often and make her customers wait.

Jin counts the number of questions she has for the customers, too. And the question she always puts to the 1,000-odd customers she deals with daily is: "Where would you like to go?"

Jin, 30, is one of the 373 employees manning ticket counters at Beijing Railway Station. She has been clocking almost 16-hour shifts a day since Christmas and shouldering a workload more fitting for a robot. All this is part of the Ministry of Railways' efforts to meet the Spring Festival travel rush, from Jan 11 to Feb 19.

The station, already one of the busiest in the country in normal times, has reportedly opened thrice the usual number of ticket counters and extended its working hours to deal with the travel rush.

"I just can't leave my seat every one at the station is busy now," Jin told China Daily yesterday. Her voice was hoarse from talking to hundreds of people a day for the past few weeks.

"During the travel rush, almost every station employee works under inhuman conditions," said Wang Meng, director of the station's ticket department.

As if her workload was not enough, Jin was once fined 145 yuan ($21), the money a customer did not pay for a ticket he slipped off with when she was distracted by three other people.

"More than 130,000 passengers are taking trains from the station every day now. But Thursday will see the real rush with more than 180,000 departing from the station," said Cai Yanmei, a Beijing Railway Station press official.

The number of people boarding and alighting trains at the station is more than 300,000 a day during the peak travel period, Cai said.

Railway officials said 188 million people are expected to take trains between Jan 11 and Feb 19 across the country, and though they try their best, it is not possible to satisfy everyone.

(China Daily January 20, 2009)

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read
Pet Name
China Archives
Related >>
- One train ticket and thousands of passengers
- Festival rush puts China to harmony test
- Police to launch online monitoring of train ticket scalpers
- Long queue for tickets home