non-reserved high speed rail tickets during CNY?


#1

Has anyone tried buying a non-reserved ticket on the HSR during the Chinese New Year period in the past few years? Do people camp around the ticket machines at midnight the day they wish to travel, and/or queue up on the platform way in advance of their actual train by the non-reserved cars? Or did I completely misread the online info, and in fact you can’t buy non-reserved tickets during the 6 official public holiday days? (FWIW, I’d like to do a last-minute trip to e.g. Tainan from Taipei if possible, and am ok with standing for <=2 hours on the train, if I knew I could get on.)


#2

Gf never reserves her ticket for CNY and she doesn’t have any issues whenever traveling from Taipei to Chang Hua and Chang Hua to Taipei.

Better to arrive a bit early (say 1-1.5 hours before departure) to the station so if you can’t grab tickets to your preferred departure time, you have other options later on.

She sometimes gets lucky and can grab a seat, but just be ready to stand.


#3

Yeah, you’ll probably get a (non-reserved) ticket all right, but you’ll be standing. If you absolutely want a seat, again, you’ll probably get a ticket, but it’ll be for a train an hour or two later, so be prepared to sit in Mos Burger killing time.

Depends a lot on where you’re going to/from, of course. Shorter distances are usually fine; Tainan->Taipei, not so much.

AFAIK the non-reserved seats are still available during new year, although it’s been a while since I attempted an on-the-spot ticket purchase during new year.


#4

Depends what day you are going down and coming back too.


#5

Great Service from THSR. This is the website link in English and if you click on the 24 Hours Online Booking orange logo, its very clear. You can reserve a ticket and pay at 7/11 the day before travel.( Or with a CC but it must be verifyable)
http://www.thsrc.com.tw/index_en.html


#6

Also … worth pointing out that you can actually reserve up to 4 (3?) hours in advance. So there’s really no need to just turn up at the station and hope for the best. People do cancel, so it’s entirely possible there will be a few seats still free at the last minute.


#7

HSR also has an app in which you can check times, reserve, buy and the QR on your phone is your ticket, so you don’t even have to touch a kiosk or wait in line.


#8

The HSR trains book out on the busiest days of CNY. Could be a very long wait if not reserving on those days. This happened to us in Miaoli before. In that case you may have to go EARLY in the morning or LATER in the evening.
I don’t think ‘no seat’ tickets are issued for the THSR. Not sure how that works but non reserved have a limited number of tickets per train which should match with seating availability I would think.

Taiwan railway always have standing tickets of course.


#9

It probably is limited, but I’ve had to stand once and seen other people doing it.


#10

AFAIK, there are three types of tickets available for the HSR.

  1. Non-reserved: Can get on any train at any time, as long as the departure and arrival stations are what you paid for (not sure if they are same day use only, but they are not tied to a specific time/train). Cars 10, 11, and 12 are for these tickets and seats are first come first serve. If no seats available, you will be standing.

  2. Reserved: Assigned seats on a specific train at a specific time. Cars 1-5, 7-9.

  3. Business Class: Assigned seats on a specific train at a specific time. Car 6.


#11

They may have a small extra allocation for non reserved over and above seating available , however they certainly control the tickets more strictly than Taiwan Rail. It would be interesting to know how they handle this.

So standing is accepted officially in the non reserved anyway.

Also non reserved are only available that day henCe if you don’t get them early may be waiting half the day on the peak days of travel (today…Tomorrow).

http://www.thsrc.com.tw/en/Article/ArticleContent/4db23462-3589-4f0e-8158-29f5ccfe3117

They may have a small extra allocation for non reserved over and above seating available , however they certainly control the tickets more strictly than Taiwan Rail. It would be interesting to know how they handle this.

So standing is accepted officially in the non reserved anyway.

http://www.thsrc.com.tw/en/Article/ArticleContent/4db23462-3589-4f0e-8158-29f5ccfe3117


#12

Not sure what you mean by this, but you can buy non reserved tickets in advance. They are valid on the day you purchase them for, regardless of train number or time.


#13

Ah yes you are right, you can reserve for a given day.
Now they do note on their website that some of this doesn’t apply for national holidays.

Anyway problem is that if you rock up at 8 or 9am on the busiest days of the year you could be waiting half the day to get a seat.


#14

How far in advance can you buy a non-reserved ticket? Are you suggesting I can buy one days before my actual departure date? Because I tried using a kiosk in Taipei Main, and it only showed me times that same day. Should I speak to an agent?


#15

You can buy non reserved for the day you travel I think until 930pm (after that no more sold). I stand often, and now try avoid peak times as it’s packed as bad a Beijing subway at 6pm. I had push my way into the door sometimes, others people pushing to get in pushing you. Some people will wait for next train and rush for a seat. Best advice is start in Nangang (first) Station if you want to sit. In Taipei people line up for trains there are lines painted on the ground to follow so be in the front you will get a seat.


#16

Ended up testing my luck at buying a non-reserved ticket in the HSR station yesterday evening to get a return ticket to Taipei from Taichung. On a whim, decided to check one more time if there were any reserved tickets available first (there weren’t a few hours earlier) around 830pm there, and was able to purchase a reserved ticket for an hour later! So a lucky ending on a busy travel night. :slight_smile: