(Yicai Global) May 8 -- China's rail operator plans to slash the cost of some high-speed routes by as much as 35 percent and optimize operations as it looks to set reasonable fares for tourists with varying travel demand.
From July 5, China Railway Corp. will cut the cost of trains running on six lines, including the Shanghai-Nanjing link, an official from the firm said. The adjustments will factor in season, travel time, seats and the number of stations passed. There will be no more price changes for the rest of the year, he added.
Reducing fares is a sign of a railroad reform and will be a positive move toward increasing passenger volume, reducing losses and boosting the sector's potential to capture investment, said Prof. Sun Zhang of Tongji University. China Railway rolled out earlier discounts across 28 inter-city links, including the Guangzhou-Zhuhai connection in the south, on April 28, but countered them by hiking the cost of travel during peak times.
The operator will also make market-based changes to its working diagrams (operating schedules). It will roll out an additional 386 trains for weekend journeys and another 728 for peak hour trips as it looks to balance supply and demand and meet the varying needs during certain time periods, including holiday weekends and the week-long Chinese New Year holiday.
The operational changes follow adjustments made on April 10, which added sixteen 350-kilometer-an-hour trains to the Beijing-Shanghai line and cut the number of stops between the two metropolises, shedding six minutes off the more-than-four-hour journey.
Editor: James Boynton