Launched in June 2011, the Chinese Ministry of Railways' online ticket-buying system is facing its first major challenge as the Chinese New Year holiday, the peak travel season in China, continues to pick up speed. A report from Chinese-language news portal Southeast Network has said that the system, which has been periodically crashing, was not given any stress tests prior to the busy season.
The report said the website was viewed 1.4 billion times on Monday, meaning that, on average, every person in the country logged on at least once. Users had a hard time accessing the site, however, due to the tremendous pressure put on the system by heavy traffic. Some experienced buyers tried to access the website many times or in multiple ways, but others had to depend on their luck.
Some media outlets in China used the click-through rate and number of tickets sold to calculate that a user had to try an average of 500 times to successfully make a ticket purchase. Buying a ticket successfully on the site, however, did not mean users would receive their purchase. Over the past 10 days, many users have complained that they have not been able to retrieve tickets at booths even after making payments online.