China’s Railway Ministry operates the country’s only official online ticket purchasing platform, but nearly a year into service, 12306 is as much a source of jokes and frustration as it is actual train tickets. The latest in the service’s long list of bugs: trains that arrive at their destination before they’ve even left. Apparently, the official e-commerce platform believes China’s trains are capable of time travel.
The time travel bug, reported by a 12306 user to a Jiangsu web news portal, showed a train scheduled to depart at 18:20 but arriving at its destination at 18:18, for a total listed travel time of negative two minutes. Obviously, it’s just a system error — Chinese trains can’t really travel through time — but it’s the kind of thing that looks bad with the list of errors piling up and the Spring Festival travel season fast approaching.
It’s also the kind of thing that shouldn’t ever happen with a system that cost $50 million, but I think most Chinese train passengers have already given up hope of seeing a fair return on that investment. China’s Railway Ministry obviously needs help running the service, but it’s equally obvious that it won’t accept any. Will it take another buggy, inconvenient Spring Festival travel season for higher authorities to step in and fix this broken system?
[Jiangsu Web via Sina Tech]