- CNTV English - CCTV News

Passenger turnover trails off the rails

06-01-2011 15:53 BJT

The length of China's railway network soared from 49,900 km in 1980 to 91,000 km by the end of 2010, making it the world's second longest. Its passenger and cargo transport facilities have also ranked among the top. Despite the railway's growth, its role in the nation's economic development is trailing off compared to other transport means.

In 1980, the proportion of passengers carried by railways was 60 percent. It dropped to only 31 percent by the end of 2010. In contrast, roads are playing a bigger role in passenger transport, with the proportion rising from 32 percent in 1980 to 54 percent last year.

It is understandable for the railway's market share to drop as China has carried out large-scale road construction and developed the automotive industry. But the problem is that the market share has dropped too fast, making China's transport structure unbalanced.

The railway, as an energy-saving and environmentally friendly transport means, should have a higher share in the country's transport structure. Even in the US, a country with the most developed highway system, the proportion of freight transport by train is twice that of China's.

In Shanxi province and the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, about 100 million tons of coal are transported out by trucks each year respectively. Train is the most efficient way to transport cargo such as coal, but now we use trucks and burn a lot of petroleum in the process.

The Ministry of Railways' combined role of government function and enterprise management is to be partly blamed. For years, the ministry has been resisting a thorough reform, which could bring a different result. The Ministry of Transport, in contrast, accepted reforms and has boosted road and water transport greatly.

Although the Ministry of Railways went on an unprecedented railway construction in the past five years to reverse the declining trend, it did not make much difference.

Between 2006 and 2010, China invested 1.98 trillion yuan ($305 billion) on railway infrastructure, or 6.3 times that in the previous five years. But statistics show a decline of the railways' share in passengers.

This situation is directly caused by a development mode that costs billions of yuan to construct high-speed passenger railways. But the high construction and operation cost, and high ticket prices have led to a lower usage rate on the high-speed rail lines.

At the same time, because technical standards vary between high-speed lines and conventional lines, old-style passenger trains cannot run on the high-speed lines. Therefore, the capacity of existing parallel cargo lines will not benefit from the expansion of high-speed railways, so the operating losses of the Ministry of Railways could increase further.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: China Daily

Hot Videos view more

The celebrations are still continuing as the victorious coach, Joachim Loew, has been honored for his achievement in his hometown of Freiburg.
Germany coach Loew honored in hometown of Freiburg

Chinese men´s national team continued its preparations for next year´s Asian Cup, as they managed a one-all draw against visitors Jordan during a football friendly in Harbin, the capital city of Northeast China´s Heilongjiang Province.
China held to 1-1 draw by Jordan

The defending world champs came into the contest with a perfect 6-and-oh record, but they would be in for a tough first half before opening things up in the second.
USA beat Slovenia 119-76 in quarter-finals

Hot Stories more

UK authorities believe killer of James Foley is a British national

Across the UK the hunt is on for James Foley’s killer, who authorities believe is a British national. As Richard Bestic reports from London, Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his summer break to lead his government’s response.

Israeli war jets renews Gaza strike as truce talks stalled

Three Palestinians were killed and 40 others wounded in the intensive Israeli war jets´ airstrikes on the Gaza city on Tuesday night, shortly before an end of a 24-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip,

Missouri police arrest dozens after violent night

As the protests in the town of Ferguson, Missouri turned violent with police facing ´heavy gunfire´ from some ´criminal elements´, cops fired tear gas, stun grenades and arrested 31 demonstrators on Monday night.

Picture in news more

More Video News

Choose TV Program