China develops train ticketing app for 140+ countries, shuns US dollar

The app can handle "200 million travelers each day" during local holidays and issue more than 1,500 tickets per second without a glitch.
Baba Tamim
Representational image: Aerial shot of the high-speed train parked on the railway.
Representational image: Aerial shot of the high-speed train parked on the railway.


China has created a new train ticketing system that can integrate numerous ticket-selling platforms from more than 140 nations into a single smartphone app.

The system, created especially for the nations taking part in China's Belt and Road Initiative, would link and organize their platforms for selling tickets, according to the China Academy of Railway Sciences Company. 

The new ticketing system, however, will use Swiss francs instead of U.S. dollars, said a South China Morning Post (SCMP) report on Thursday. 

"Settlement is based on the amount of Swiss francs for passenger tickets in different countries where the train stops, and a clearing report is generated on a monthly basis," according to a paper published by the Chinese-language journal Railway Transport and Economy in March.

"The system provides data support functions such as income verification, electronic payment, and liquidation."

Passengers have been able to use their cellphones to order tickets from March 15, and Laos is the first nation to join the platform.

The primary servers, which are in China, can handle requests from travelers from all over the world in numerous languages.

The new system was built on top of the international version of China's domestic train ticket app, 12306. 12306 received a lot of criticism for its numerous crashes after its debut in 2011.

'The app can handle 200 million travelers each day'

The software was redesigned with help from China's digital behemoths, and with nearly 700 million subscribers—roughly half the country's population—it is now the most widely used travel app in the nation.

The team, under the direction of computer scientist Zhang Zhiqiang, faced a problem while attempting to integrate the ticket administration systems of so many nations onto a single platform.

For example, most countries have distinct organizational systems, seat number regulations, and ticketing procedures. Moreover, maintaining anonymity was a major problem, as per the team. 

The system makes use of open-source software built on Chinese-developed core technology, with skilled engineers managing and maintaining the primary servers under extremely strict security controls.

Laos is the first nation to use the new ticketing system, while Vietnam, Russia, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan may soon follow. 

According to Zhang and his colleagues, the new technology "lay[s] the foundation for all countries to jointly establish an intelligent, standardized, and unified ticketing platform for international transport."

More than 26,000 miles (42,000 km) of high-speed rail have been developed within China in recent years, significantly expanding its railway networks.

The app can handle "200 million" travelers each day during local holidays, issuing more than 1,500 tickets per second without a glitch, according to the SCMP report

Beijing is also funding the standardization and integration of rail networks covering Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, and Africa, as well as heavy-duty cargo lines and high-speed rail in other nations.

China's links with the region would be strengthened, and transportation and travel expenses would be reduced as a result of connecting railway networks in Southeast Asian nations.

Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
message circleSHOW COMMENT (1)chevron
Job Board