My reader asked me whether it is possible to buy D train or CRH train ticket after getting on board.
My answer is, generally, no.
Checkpoints before you get on board
In Shanghai Railway Stations, for example, you have to have a valid train ticket before you get even close to the door of the train. Here are the possible places you need to show your ticket.
1. The Station.
The rule is, you can enter the train station only 2 hours before the train departs. You need to line up and show your ticket to an officer outside the train station. it is the same for the South Railway Station. The reason is, with too much people, without the check, many people may use the train station as a temp home, and enjoy the free air conditioning system. It is fine to have just a few, but as any train station in China, there are many people sitting or sleeping outside the train station, just wait for the 2 hour time to come.
2. The Platform.
After you wait in the waiting room in the train station, you need to line up to show to the person at the checkpoint before the platform to enter the platform. This is to avoid people holding other train ticket to get onto the departing train. This is gate opens 30 minutes before the train departs, and closes 5 minutes in advance.
3. The Train Cart.
Before you enter the train, you need to show the ticket to the train conductor before you enter the train. This is also to avoid people holding normal seat ticket to get into a better class of train cart. They can move freely after the train starts to move, but this check helps to keep the order of the train at the very beginning.
4. On the Train
The train conductor will check train ticket on board to find people who don’t have the ticket. This is routine check, and it is not easy to skip. Actually, this is the real check that prevent ticket slipping. If you are caught, you need to pay for the ticket.
So, if you don’t have a train ticket, it is not easy to get on to the train.
However, There Are Still Ways To Get On Board
Generally, you need to buy a ticket before you get on board, but there are other ways to work around it. The secret is, the Platform Ticket!
You can buy a platform ticket to gain access to the platform. Platform tickets are used for people to accompany their family, friends to get onto the train or those who pick up their friends on the train. The ticket is not valid for travel, just for a short period of time before the train departs, or arrives.
It costs 2 RMB in Shanghai.
If you have a Platform Ticket, you can pass check #1, and #2. For checkpoint #3, you can tell him/her that you can getting back very soon. When you are in the train, stay there until the train moves.
Then either wait for the train conductor to come to you to pay the full amount of the ticket, or you go to the train conductor (who often have office in the middle of the train) to buy a ticket. That is normally what people do.
Do you have any more tips about how to be able to buy ticket on board?