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The Chinese New Year is coming. Before people can enjoy the long-awaited happy family reunion, one difficult problem must be settled first: how to get home?

News about people striving to get themselves some train tickets for the coming trip home is by no means "new"—it comes out every year around two to three weeks before the Lunar New Year.

Yet, although the drudgery of buying holiday train tickets has become a routine, the torture involved is not: it is renewed every time, perhaps with greater intensity ...

Got your New Year train tickets?


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Have you got the tickets?
年關將近,期盼回家團圓之時,交通卻是一大問題,各類大眾運輸皆是一票難求,讓我們來看看這個訂火車票的真實經驗吧!

Henry: Hey Bruce, listen to this. “Over two million callers jammed the automated hotline of the Taiwan Railway Administration over a two hour period trying to buy train tickets for the Chinese New Year.” I can’t believe it!

Bruce: It’s not that unbelievable as long as you make the calls yourself. Actually, I contributed about two or three hundred calls to those two million.

Henry: Oh my! Sounds crazy! Did you make it?

Bruce: Fortunately, I did. But it was a terrible experience. I got up before daybreak, at about ten to six, I guess. Then as the clock struck six, I started dialing the service numbers. The first time I got connected was 25 minutes later. As I heard “Welcome to Chunghwa Telecom’s new generation telephone call service,” I shed my grateful tears…

Henry: Then you were lucky enough. The news report said some people couldn’t even get into the system after calling for 40 minutes or even for an hour.

Bruce: But it was still very tormenting. I considered giving up several times during those 25 minutes, thinking that it was impossible for me to get those naughty tickets.

Henry: Why not use the online ticket system? There should be less people using the Internet, right?

Bruce: That’s not the case at all. You know what? I tried the ticket website as I mechanically pressed through the telephone keys. The time I could see something other than blank web pages was 7:40. By that time, good tickets had all been sold out already. It’s no use entertaining hopes on the online system. It fails every time when it comes to longer holidays.

Henry: Then why not take the High Speed Rail? Isn’t it much faster than the train?

Bruce: Are you kidding? I won’t risk getting killed whether before or after New Year.

Henry: But is it really that dangerous? Some friends of mine gave rather high remarks to the high speed rail after their trips on it, saying it was fast and comfortable.

Bruce: You don’t suppose that “fast and comfortable” are synonymous to “safe,” do you? Don’t you know it's better safe than sorry?

Henry: Anyway, thank God I live and work in Taipei. There’s no need for me to go back to some far-away hometown during these long holidays. Saves me much trouble.

Bruce: Indeed, you are the truly lucky one, and I am only the luckier among the less fortunate long-distance travelers.

Wordbank:

automated (a) 自動化的 naughty (a) 頑皮的
contribute (v) 頁獻 case (n) 實情
strike (v) (時鐘)敲響 other than (ph) 除了
shed (v) 流出 entertain hopes (ph) 懷抱希望
grateful (a) 感激的 remark (n) 評價
tormenting (a) 令人痛苦的 synonymous (a) 同義的

 

相關連結:

China Post :TRA ticket hotline jammed by requests

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