Since January 1st, 2012, real-name ticket policy has been applied to all China trains. To further combat scalpers, identity verification policy was implemented on March 1st, 2014. However, this new policy has caused many inconveniences for passengers, especially foreign, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan passengers. Here below are the cases. Some are based on true stories while others are listed to save possible troubles.
|A name on passport
In China, the name order is Surname + Given Name while it is Given Name + Surname in many western countries. Once upon a time, we booked railway tickets for one of our customers with Given Name + Surname on official booking system successfully. When our customer went to pick up the tickets at Beijing Railway Station, he got denied as the name order on his passport was Surname + Given Name and the official considered them as two different persons. Although our staff hurried there to explain the different naming habits of two cultural backgrounds and proved they were one person, it did not work. We had no choice but to accept cancellation of the tickets. What's risible was the official did not issue the tickets but cancel and refund them. Since then, we have had to book train tickets with the Surname + Given Name to save troubles.
Opinion: Book China train tickets with complete full name identical to your passport name (the name on your passport should be read from top to bottom and left to right): if it is in the Surname + Given Name order, book with the Surname + Given Name; if there is a middle name, do not omit or abbreviate it.
|A Sample of Mainland Travel Permit
There are two names on the Mainland Travel Permit for Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan Residents: English name and name in traditional Chinese characters. As the traditional Chinese characters are not accepted by name column of the booking system, we have booked with customers' English names for a long time and it worked smoothly. Suddenly one day, one of our Hong Kong passengers got denied in Shenzhen when collecting the booked ticket under his English name. Fortunately, theticket was issued after negotiation.
Concerning this, we made several phone calls to custom service of the official booking site for solutions. Here below are the replies:
12306 in Guangzhou: Use Chinese name and it is the rule.
12306 in Beijing: Use Chinese name. If traditional Chinese characters are not accepted, replace them with similar characters.
12306 in Shanghai: Use Chinese name. Replace unaccepted traditional Chinese characters with their Pinyin.
Opinion: These solutions go against the identity verification policy, because the replacements cannot be found on the Travel Permit at all. They just increase the risk of being denied. We still think using English names is safer. At least, they are presented on the Travel Permit.
Names including a hyphen or an apostrophe cannot be recognized by the booking system.
Opinion: Omit the hyphen or apostrophe. It works on our experience.
The name column on booking system only accepts 30 characters at most. But there are names longer than 30 characters.
Type in as many characters as you can. We have done it this way and it worked smoothly.