About 210 million mainlanders will face a transport ordeal to get home for the Lunar New Year next month in the world's largest annual human migration, officials warn. The number of travellers was expected to be 9.5 per cent higher year on year, Gao Xiaobing, director of the Ministry of Railways' political section, said yesterday. The week-long holiday, which begins on February 13, is the mainland's most important holiday and the only opportunity for a family reunion for many, including tens of millions of migrant workers. Gao warned that problems with ticket shortages would not be solved for another decade, blaming the issue on a lack of transport capacity. By 2020, the mainland would have more than 120,000 kilometres of track in use and would generally meet public demand, 'which will solve the difficulty of buying tickets'. Additionally, local officials, delegates of local People's Congresses and People's Political Consultative Conferences, and journalists will be invited to supervise offices at railway stations and ticket booths. Railway authorities have been criticised over their inefficiency and inability in handling the volume of travellers during the holiday. There has been speculation that part of the ticketing problem is due to scalpers, who have connections with people in the railway system. Gao said officials would launch new measures to prevent fraud and tighten supervision of employees. For example, those manning ticket booths will not be allowed to bring personal cash, purses or mobile phones to work, and no railway employees are allowed to buy or sell tickets on anyone else's behalf. Railway authorities have taken a big step in easing tensions over of buying tickets this year. In a pilot programme of the Guangzhou and Chengdu railway bureaus, passengers buying tickets at 37 stations must provide identification details. The ministry had rejected the idea for at least six years, arguing that it would do nothing to end scalping and would inconvenience travellers. But yesterday Gao conceded that public pressure finally convinced officials that the idea was worth a try. 'Facts will speak the truth,' she said. Wang Yongping, a ministry spokesman who had publicly rejected the ideas for the past few years, said he was unsure how the trial would work.