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E-tickets will reduce scalping for tour boats

E-tickets for cruise ships on the Huangpu River will soon be available at a new outlet at Dada Dock near Fuxing Road in an effort to thwart scalpers, port authorities said yesterday.


The e-ticket will have a unified check-in system with a fixed number of tickets for each boat. The outlet will also provide clear information on the different ships, including prices, departure time and length of tours, said the Shanghai Communications, Transport and Port Administration.


Yang Jianyong, director of the administration\'s shipping management department, said the new system will discourage scalping.


Officials said the market is disorderly due to a lack of regulations. Scalpers can control a ship\'s departure time with excuses like "a tour group is late," forcing a river tour to be shortened in some cases.


With the e-ticket system, a ship will depart once the fixed numbers of passengers board. Complaints can be made to tour authorities if the boats depart late or the tour is shortened, officials said.


The administration also said from now on people buying group tickets must show a tour guide certificate and a group itinerary.


Both the administration and cruise ship companies said "black" agencies are also a big problem. Such agencies organize groups so they can buy discounted tickets while still charging the higher individual ticket price.


"We suffered losses, but we had to rely on them because most of our customers come from these agencies," said Chen Cheng of Qiangsheng Cruise Company.


(Shanghai Daily May 21, 2009)