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Takeaways on the fast track for high-speed train passengers

By Hu Yuyan | China Daily | Updated: 2023-02-11 11:51
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It's 10 am and Zhang Jie is busy preparing for the upcoming lunch rush at a distribution center in a waiting room of Shangrao Railway Station, in the city of Shangrao in East China's Jiangxi province.

Zhang is employed as a food delivery worker at Shangrao Railway Station. He is responsible for delivering takeaways to passengers, China Media Group's Voice of China program reported.

During the Spring Festival travel rush, which started on Jan 7 and will end on Wednesday, Shangrao Railway Station has handled nearly 400 passenger trains a day, which has driven up takeaway orders. Zhang told Voice of China: "Before the travel rush, I delivered about 50 orders every day — now it's around 200."

To improve efficiency, Zhang has optimized his delivery routes and work process according to the train schedule. He told Voice of China that a high-speed train stops for only about two minutes, which entails punctuality on the delivery worker's part.

Zhang said he often spilled drinks or soup when he first started. Having gained more experience now, he shared his way to improve steadiness with Voice of China: "Hold onto the backpack's shoulder straps tightly to balance the backpack on the way, and take the stairs one small step at a time."

The 60-year-old had declined the station's offers to transfer him to a less busy position. "I feel much younger when I'm with young people and laugh and talk every day," Zhang said to Voice of China. "Being able to bring passengers hot meals makes us very happy."

Ma Tao, a food delivery worker, explained the delivery process to Xinhua News Agency: "After the passenger places an order via the 12306 railway ticketing system, the restaurant at the railway station receiving the order sends the food to the distribution center.

"We timetable deliveries according to when orders are placed and when trains enter the station. Then we deliver the food to a train attendant, who brings it to the passenger. This is like a relay race, and I'm one of the athletes."

Companies participating in the online ordering service at Ningbo Railway Station, in the city of Ningbo in East China's Zhejiang province, include Yonghe King and KFC. They collectively offer more than 20 hot food items, Liu Miao, general manager of the Zhejiang branch of Shanghai Xinshangtie Industrial Development Group, told Xiandai Kuaibao.

Zhu Yanxia, a passenger, said to the Jiangsu province-based newspaper: "There are a lot of choices and the prices are very reasonable."

He ordered a meal from Chinese cuisine fast food restaurant Laoniangjiu at Ningbo Railway Station via the 12306 mobile application two hours in advance. In less than 10 minutes after the train departed from Ningbo Railway Station, the train attendant had brought the hot meal to his seat.

China State Railway Group, the national railway operator, launched the takeaway ordering service in July 2017. Passengers can order meals as well as local specialties from either railway-run food service providers or restaurants operated by other entities via the 12306 website and mobile application.

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