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Faster but more costly, high-speed train sparks controversy before peak travel season

01-18-2011 15:41 BJT

BEIJING, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- When waves of people anxiously begin their journey back home for the Spring Festival, the Chinese lunar New Year, migrant worker Liu Weidong finally was able to purchase three tickets for his family, and now has a lighter purse but heavier heart.

"We only were able to get tickets for the high-speed trains. They were more costly than the ordinary ones," said the man in his 40s.

Liu and his wife are from east China's Jiangxi Province and began working in Hangzhou, capital city of Zhejiang province, a few years ago.

In the past, the ordinary train tickets cost them 76 yuan (about 11 U.S. dollars) apiece. This year, due to the operation of high-speed trains, the number of ordinary trains in service was reduced and cheaper tickets for traveling in these ordinary trains were hard to get.

Liu's wife queued for five hours, but still could not purchase tickets for ordinary trains and the price of a ticket for a second-class seat on the high-speed train plying the railroad between Hangzhou and Nanchang, capital of Jiangxi, was 199 yuan. Therefore, a rail journey back home this year will cost the family an extra 400 yuan, which was about one-third of Liu's monthly salary.

"The time for the rail journey will be, indeed, cut by several hours by traveling in the high-speed train, but I would rather stand for 40 hours in the ordinary train, which is normally crowded," Liu said.

"To us, 400 yuan is a lot of money. With the money, we can buy many things for the festival."


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