China is to promote e-ticket system for high-speed trains nationwide in 2019, Lu Dongfu, general manager of China Railway Corp, announced at a recent forum.
Passengers will be able to swipe their mobile phones or ID cards to enter or exit the railway station, without carrying paper tickets, said Lu.
Commuters in China are already using mobile phones for subway and bus. The technology for high-speed rail, however, is only available in certain stations and lines crossing big cities.
At stations in some remote areas, travelers still need the paper ticket to get on the train.
As early as this year’s fourth quarter, trials for the e-ticket will begin at many pilot stations, according to the Wuhan Railway Bureau, with the service becoming available all over the country next year.
Many netizens shared the view that paper train tickets could become extinct someday and will only be part of nostalgic memories for people.
“As an environmentalist, I am very happy to see we’re moving into an era of paperless ticketing, as it will save a lot of trees and water resources,” user @blingblingsu commented on China’s Twitter-like Weibo.
“Finally, I don’t have to wait in line to get the paper ticket which is a waste of time and makes me feel anxious for fear of missing the train,” another user commented.
From the 1940s, train tickets in China have gone through four stages as technologies advanced. Let’s have a look back at the previous three generations.