Do not forget right to 'slow down' in high-speed era

11:08, June 15, 2011      

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The Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway has garnered particular attention and will be officially put into operation at the end of June. Hu Yadong, deputy minister of the Ministry of Railways, said on June 13 that the Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway will adopt a two-speed operation mode at 300 kilometers per hour and 250 kilometers per hour to meet the needs of different passengers.

According to sources, the fare for trains running at the speed of 250 kilometers per hour is lower than that of the train running at 300 kilometers per hour.

The opening of the Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway is another breakthrough in China's railway speeds. The new generation of high-speed trains set a world record at a speed of 486 kilometers per hour in the Zaozhuang-Bengbu pilot section of the Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway on Dec. 3, 2010. The Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway, which is fully capable of high-speed operations, consciously slowed down the speed and offers trains that run at different speeds during operations for the first time. This deliberate "slowdown" is a human-oriented measure, focusing more on social benefits rather than simply advocating speed.

Today's people do not conceal their pursuit of speed, but not everyone wants to be fast because not everyone has the conditions and the abilities to be fast in modern society. The faster the high-speed railway is, the higher the fares are. Although railway authorities are capable of making trains run faster, not everyone can afford high-priced tickets. The railway has consciously provided passengers who "want to be slower" or "have to be slower" a potential choice in a high-speed era. This shows respect for the people's right to "slow down."

It is forecasted by experts that the Beijing–Shanghai High-Speed Railway will have good earnings because it will be more cost-effective than flights on the same route. Admittedly, the increase in operating speeds can enhance the competitiveness of high-speed railways in the transportation industry, bringing a direct edge to the railway sector’s economic benefits. However, railways are built not only for profits but also for public well-being.

Railway authorities should not forget the social responsibility on their shoulders. In addition to pursuing profits, a more important purpose of launching high-speed railways is to provide more choices and greater convenience to passengers. If the public well-being and the balance between economic and social benefits are ignored, bullet trains will not be able to win any popularity among passengers no matter how fast they are.

The world has entered a high-speed era, which is not only limited to the high-speed railway network, but also in the expansion of the mailing industry and the Express Mail Service. Most people want fast and high-quality services, but that does not mean that slow services should be matched with low quality. Although more and more people have chosen to live a fast-paced life, some people have no choice but to "slow down." They should have the right to "slow down," and that right should be respected.

Milan Kundera said that from a philosophical perspective, the degree of speed is directly proportional to the intensity of forgetting. However, railway authorities should not forget people's needs when pursuing high speeds and should always remember that it is more important to meet people’s needs than to reap profits.

By People's Daily Online
 
 
     
 
 
 
     
 
 
 
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(Editor:石希)

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