Reduce price of standing tickets

Updated: 2014-01-17 08:07

(China Daily)

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The railway company informed media outlets early this week that currently no change in the prices of standing tickets is on the table despite the long-standing wide public calls for a reduction. Moreover, the excuses from the company sound indeed groundless, says an article in Guizhou City News. Excerpts:

In fact, the cost of seats is a fixed cost even if standing tickets are not for sale, so the railway company has to spend the same whether it sells standing tickets or not. Therefore, the revenue from standing tickets is extra revenue rather than covering increase of such cost.

But at the same time, the quality of service, with regard of comfort and safety levels, are different. According to the principle of fairness, therefore, the price of a standing ticket should be lower than one for a seat, with the price differential similar to the difference in price between a ticket for a hard seat and a ticket for a soft seat.

To keep the price of standing tickets unchanged, the railway company has come up with many ridiculous excuses. For example, it has claimed that if the price for standing tickets is lowered, more people would choose to travel by train, which would not only lead to overcapacity, but also endanger passenger safety. However, the number of extra passengers is likely to be quite low and the railway company could reasonably control the situation by restricting the number of standing tickets sold during each section of the train line.

Consequently, it is not difficult to come to the conclusion that the current train ticket pricing is in essence unfair and is being used by the railway company to maximize its profits at the cost of passengers' interests.