Wed, Jan 11, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Customers livid as booking systems experience snafus

FRUSTRATION Nerves frayed when customers trying to make telephone bookings for Lunar New Year train tickets were cut off, and Internet booking systems were blocked

By Jenny Chou  /  STAFF REPORTER

Internet and telephone train-ticket booking systems for the Lunar New Year holiday experienced problems yesterday -- only the second day they were available to the public -- sparking an outcry from angry customers.

After customers had gotten through to telephone booking systems and entered their relevant details, including identity numbers, they were cut off. Online bookings couldn't be made at all.

Hsu Da-wen (徐達文), the head of the Taiwan Railway Administration, said that the telephone booking problems were caused by high call volumes that overloaded the system.

Up until 11am yesterday morning, 194,000 bookings had already been made.

"According to Chunghwa Telecom, people were being cut off on telephone booking systems because controls were placed on the number of people who could get through at any given time. Since increasing numbers of people have been allowed to get through, problems with people being cut off haven't occurred," Hsu said.

Hsu said the problems with online bookings before 10am yesterday were due to an overload of customers who were all trying to connect at the same time.

However, Chunghwa Telecom confirmed that problems occurring after 10am were due to a computer hacker who broke into the site.

Chunghwa Telecom dealt with the problem by changing its system by 11:10am yesterday.

According to ETtoday, people who were not able to make bookings online are demanding a public apology from TRA officials, who had promised that there would not be a repeat of similar problems during Moon festival, when hackers also disrupted booking systems.

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