Fintech News & Trends in Hong Kong and Asia

Online ticket booking easier for elderly now

Young volunteers in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, help a senior to use his phone. (JI YUAN / CHINA DAILY)

China's railway ticket booking system has launched an elderly-friendly version of its internet interface, national railway operator China State Railway Group said recently.

Clicking on the "elderly friendly "button on the right side of the landing page for 12306.cn, the official railway ticket booking website, opens a set of functions at the top of the page designed to aid senior residents in various ways, helping them read text, zoom in and adjust the volume.

For example, if users click on the reading mode, the computer will read the text where the mouse is positioned.

The ticket booking service will soon add an elderly-friendly page on its mobile application, with larger fonts and icons. Users will be able to switch between the normal and elderly-friendly version easily. Testing of the app is underway, with a full rollout expected early this month.

Clicking on the "elderly friendly "button on the right side of the landing page for 12306.cn, the official railway ticket booking website, opens a set of functions at the top of the page designed to aid senior residents in various ways, helping them read text, zoom in and adjust the volume

The group said the system has about 25 million registered users aged 65 and above. The changes are designed to make it easier for seniors and the disabled to buy railway tickets online.

The online booking system has become the main way to buy railway tickets, but ticket windows have been retained to provide offline service to those unfamiliar with the online booking process.

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Other transportation service providers, such as airports, have also taken steps to make travel easier for the elderly.

Beijing Daxing International Airport launched an elderly-friendly version on its application in April that provides simpler instructions with larger characters.

Face-to-face assistance is also offered at the airport. During the COVID-19 pandemic, all passengers are required to scan a health code at the airport. Airport staff members help record the health status of senior residents who need help, such as those who do not have smartphones.

The number of people aged 65 and above nationwide reached 190.64 million, accounting for 13.5 percent of the Chinese mainland's population, according to the results of last year's national census.

They are being encouraged to adapt to new technology by learning to use smartphones for a range of purposes, such as scanning bar codes to make payments and showing their health codes during the COVID-19 pandemic. The government also plans to tell app developers to make their products convenient for the elderly to use.

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The State Council, China's Cabinet, issued a guideline last year that called for a three-year campaign to help seniors cross the digital divide and enjoy the fruits of intelligent technology.