China Railways Adjusts Advance Ticketing Rebook and Refund Policies

Tickets (Shijiazhuang)

The move of the railways to open up advance ticketing up to 60 days in advance has been a welcome move, but it has also meant a gold mine for ticket opportunists. This is because refund fees do not apply for tickets turned in for refunds 15 days (or earlier) prior to departure. As a result, for some, early tickets can be hard to come by.

The railways are now stepping in and restricting this. A 5% refund fee will in future still apply:

  • for those who have purchased tickets ahead of time; and
  • who have rebooked in any way a ticket within the period between 48 hours and 15 minutes prior to departure; and
  • who have rebooked onto a train departing after 15 days (or later); and
  • who have again returned their ticket for a refund 15 days or earlier, prior to departure.

The new regulations will apply as of 10 June 2015.

This is mainly intended to close a loophole where ticket opportunists hold tickets for days, if not weeks, on end, until the period where ticket refunds are handling fee-free is close to finishing. This should result in more tickets being made available for legitimate passengers who just want to book early.

David Feng

David Feng — founder and publisher, Tracking China, a Street Level China website.

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