Experts: Beijing-Shanghai high-speed train tickets estimated to be costly

14:22, May 16, 2011      

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The ticket price of Beijing-Shanghai high-speed train that is scheduled to go into commercial service next month is estimated to be twice as much as the average China Railway High-speed (CRH) train, said experts.

Experts pointed that there is no doubt that ordinary trains will make way for high-speed trains because the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway will use 90 pairs of bullet trains after it goes into service.

Passengers who frequently travel back and forth between Beijing and Shanghai may wonder if passengers will have no choice but to buy the costly high-speed train tickets.

High-speed may cost 640 yuan, take five hours; normally 179 yuan, 14 hours

"A precise ticket price is still under calculation. We will consider passenger's financial capacity as well as operation cost," said an official of Ministry of Railways.

He added, the designed operating speed of Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway is 380 kilometers per hour, but in order to keep security and reduce the ticket price, trains on the line will run at two speeds, 300 kilometers per hour and 250 kilometers per hour.

According to the former regulation on ticket price of high-speed trains, the pricing standard of a second-class seat is 0.484 yuan per kilometer. Hence, the second-class seat price of the 1,318-kilometer-long Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway will be 640 yuan or so. The through travel time of the train will be within five hours.

"Although the high-speed train is nice, the cost performance is too low. The one-way ticket price of the high-speed train is equal to a round-trip ticket price of a CRH train. In that case, I might as well go by plane," said a passenger named Lu Xiaodong who works in Beijing and lives in Shanghai.

If the ticket price of the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed train is more than 600 yuan, she will choose the CRH train. Moreover, if the time is not tight, she prefers to choose the ordinary train with a ticket price of 179 yuan, said Ms Ning who studies in Beijing and lives in Shanghai.

Will ordinary trains make way for high-speed trains?

What worries experts most is the question of whether the ordinary trains will be taken off in order to make way for high-speed trains between Beijing and Shanghai.

A spokesman of Ministry of Railways explained that 135 ordinary trains will be retained on the existing Beijing-Shanghai rail line after the 90 pairs of bullet trains are put into operation on the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway.

They will consequentially reduce the schedules of ordinary trains due to the operation of the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed trains. Although the reduction of the ordinary trains is not too much, the low-speed rail lines will be adjusted at first. Hence, trains with low ticket prices must be decreased for passengers, said Xu Fengxian, a senior researcher of Institute of Industrial Economics of China Academy of Social Science.

By Ye Xin, People's Daily Online
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