Remember about how tough it was to buy train ticket?
Well. The question is, even if you WANT to stand on the train, you don’t have the chance, since there are so many people standing there already. Standing tickets were sold out.
Wendy asked: “How about tickets after 11 days?”
She asked because all tickets are sold 11 days in advance.
The person said: “No. Don’t try that.”
Wendy was upset: “Then where are the tickets?”
The person replied: “If I tell you, I put all the ticket in my own pocket, do you believe it? Next!”
We tried every ticket office and there is nothing for the next 11 days or even after.
The Real Secret
Finally, we were approached by someone (not one, there are so many of them everywhere) who claim to be able to provide us with any ticket we want. Wendy decided to buy two tickets from them. We call them “yellow cow” (Huang niu, or 黄牛).
They charge 50 RMB more for each ticket as service fee.
A traditional “yellow cow” is a person who takes the time either to line up to buy the ticket and resell it at higher price, or buy back tickets from ticket owner at lower price and sell it at higher price.
But for the railway tickets, it SEEMS that they even didn’t bother to line up in the ticket window. The amount of the ticket they have seems not to be bought at “retail” window.
Reports say many of them have been directly or indirectly affiliated with the “insider” of the railway ticket system.
The Result. Aha!
No matter how terrible the ticket availability seems to be, we find out the real situation.
Yesterday night, when Wendy and I sent our parents to the railways station, and to the train cart, we found the train was only half full.
On the sleeper train No. 3 of K282 from Shanghai to Chengdu, the first 4 sleeper section only have to passengers – our parents.
There are three deck of beds for each number. All of them are empty. That means, in the first 4 rows, 2 out of 12 beds were occupied. The rest 10 are completely empty.
Bad System Brings Bad People Together
Well. Spring Festival is the time most people will go back home. It is for sure that tickets are hard to get. On one hand, all tickets were sold out, and many people cannot go home. On the other hand, trains ARE EMPTY!
Who gets the benefit? Thousands of “yellow cows” who gets 50 RMB each ticket (1/6 of the ticket price). It is for sure that they need to share the revenue to those in the railway system who control the source of the ticket. But who cares.
When we are back, we past by the ticket window. There are still thousands of people lining up to get a ticket. I am sure many of them will find their effort to stand in cold for hours in Vail. No ticket at all! There is no tickets! It is not because there are too many people there, and too few seat, it is just because of the corruption of the railway system.
I realize the current problem of railway system is no longer the problem we faced 10 years ago, when I can still find a standing place on the crowded train.