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China to Crack Down on Ticket Scalping on Qinghai-Tibet Railway
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China's railway police has begun a one-month campaign to combat train ticket scalpers on the newly-operated Qinghai-Tibet railway. Trains have been running on the Qinghai-Tibet Railway since July 1.


Expert teams from the Public Security Bureau of the Chinese Ministry of Railways have been sent to railway stations in Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Lanzhou, Xining and Lhasa, a railway official said.


Local railway policemen also strengthened patrols at the six railway stations to crack down on ticket scalpers.


Fifteen illegal tickets dealers were punished in public on Monday morning in the square outside the Xining Railway Station.


Sources said one of the 15 dealers, surnamed Qian, was adding 800 yuan (about 100 U.S. dollars) to the cost of each ticket to Lhasa.


While the cost of a basic coach ticket or "hard seat" from Xining to Lhasa is only 226 yuan, the cost of a "hard" sleeping berth and a "soft" sleeping berth are 523 yuan and 810 yuan respectively.


The Qinghai-Tibet railway opened a test service on July 1, with services operating from five cities to Lhasa. Officials with the Ministry of Railways said that the campaign against ticket scalpers will be stepped up, and that the ministry will also try to schedule extra trains to Lhasa to meet market demand.


Currently, a person buying tickets to Lhasa from the ticket window is limited to a maximum of three tickets, said the ministry.


(Xinhua News Agency July 25, 2006)


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