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|Photo: CFP Yang Zi (pseudonym) failed to grab a train ticket home on the online ticket-purchasing battlefield at 10 am on December 21. That was the day that tickets for journeys on the eve of Chinese New Year Cheap Vikings Hats , or Spring Festival, were made available.
"Even at 9:59 am, the Web page read 'wait for tickets to be released.' But the next second, all the 'purchase' buttons on the page turned gray, meaning that all the tickets were sold out," said Yang.
She was one of millions who began refreshing 12306, the official online platform for booking train tickets for the Spring Festival holidays Cheap Vikings Hoodies , several minutes before 10 am in an effort to snatch up a ticket.
China witnesses the world's largest annual migration as hundreds of millions of people travel from metropolises to less developed cities, counties and remote villages in the days leading up to the Spring Festival, when people head home to see their families.
State authorities, including the Ministry of Transport, estimated that the 2015 "spring rush" between February 4 and March 15 will see around 2.8 billion journeys by car, train, ship and plane Cheap Vikings Shirts , an increase of 3.4 percent year-on-year. Of these journeys, about 295 million will be taken by train, up 10 percent, the People's Daily reported on December 31.
Although the China Railway Corporation (CRC), a State-owned enterprise, has tried to make buying tickets easier by making them available 60 days before this year's Spring Festival instead of the previous 30 days and by waiving service charges usually levied for canceling tickets 15 days or less before the train departs, all of this convenience seems to have been taken advantage of by scalpers Cheap Vikings Jerseys , Yang told the Global Times.
"Thanks to the new policies, my business has already been booming this year," a person who snapped up train tickets online with high-end software to later sell at an inflated price, was quoted by Yangtze Evening Post as saying on December 29.
The Internet has become one of the main ways by which people buy train tickets, which is handy for both travelers and scalpers. More than 9.56 million tickets were sold on December 19 when they became available for February 16, three days before the Spring Festival, about 59 percent of which were sold online Cheap Andrew Sendejo Jersey , the Xinhua News Agency reported.
According to a survey conducted by Guangdong-based news portal sun0769, 11 percent of the 1,129 people surveyed succeeded in their attempt to purchase tickets and about 55 percent said that the extended pre-sale period benefited scalpers.
Some scalpers reached by the Global Times said "we cancel one of the tickets we had hoarded and then use clients' accounts on the official website to buy those tickets back after clients make a down payment of 30 yuan ($4. … Clients will then pay for the tickets online by themselves when the tickets have been secured, and then pay the scalper another 20 yuan per ticket."
"Every day we make 300 deals at least," one scalper known as "Niu Niu" said, adding that the website's employees sometimes provide them with tickets.
He said they bought "ticket-snatching" software, which is more advanced than free ticket-buying software used by many travelers.
The software that scalpers use has been tailored to their needs Cheap Kyle Rudolph Jersey , although its methods are similar to those of free applications, said An Yang, a cyber-security expert at Qihoo 360 Technology, a company which makes free ticket-buying applications.
One of the distinctive features of the scalpers' software is that they refresh the website in an "unscrupulous" way that puts a heavy burden on servers, An told the Global Times.
"For instance, free software that is produced by legitimate companies refreshes the website once every one to five seconds, whereas it is refreshed about 10 times every second by scalpers' software Cheap Tom Johnson Jersey ," Ni Chao, an Anhui-based programmer who helped optimize the ticket purchasing process with his own plug-in named "12306 Ticket-Booking Assistant" in 2012, told the Global Times.
Scalpers pay about 50 yuan a day for their software, Ni estimated.
"We have always been taking measures to combat scalping," a China Railway Corporation publicity employee surnamed Cui told the Global Times.
"Several sets of verification codes have been designed this year to curb automatic logins, verification and the submitting of orders by ticket-snatching software and plug-in programs," Zhu Jiansheng Cheap Xavier Rhodes Jersey , a deputy director of the Institute of Computing Technology at the China Academy of Railway Sciences, told the Science and Technology Daily on December 21.
As for measures taken in recent years, experts reached by the Global Times applauded the real-name ticket system used to verify passengers' identities and the cooperation between the CRC and the Ministry of Public Security which involved the sharing of ID information to help the CRC verify travelers' identities when they make online purchases.
"The real-name system has curbed rampant scalping to a considerable degree," Ma Minshu, an associate professor of e-commerce systems at Beijing Jiaotong University, told the Global Times.
Scalpers were able to buy many more tickets and easily collect tickets that passengers wanted to return before the introduction of the real-name system.
In addition, the online ticket-buying platform has rented external cloud computing resources and expanded its bandwidth in a bid to deal with massive surges in sales and queries Cheap Joe Berger Jersey , Wang Mingzhe, another deputy director of the Institute of Computing Technology said.
"[Despite these measures,] there is still much room for further improvement of the website," An said.
An suggested that the railway authorities should enhance users' experience of the website and make use of big data to analyze which routes are the most popular in order to improve th
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