Railway Ministry spokesman Wang
Yongping said Wednesday train ticket prices will not go up during the Spring
Festival season, also known as the 'chunyun' period, beginning in 2007, reports
the China News.
Migrant workers line up at the
ticket check point to get on board their train, the first temporary
passenger train added for migrant workers prior to the Spring Festival
exodus at the railway station in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province
January 5, 2007. A total of 1,116 migrant workers aboard this train went
back home in Guiyang, southwest China's Guizhou Province to reunite with
family members. [newsphoto]
According to the ministry, a daily average of 3.88 million passengers will
travel over the railways during the 40-day 'chunyun' period from February 3 to
March 14, 2007, which will see a total passenger flow of 156 million, up 4.3
percent from the previous year.
Train riders have been required to pay a premium raning from 15 to 20 percent
pf the ticket price during the spring festival, when Chinese travel from places
they live and work to spend time with their families and friends. The scheme
was carried out to alleviate the transportation problem in the hottest
The new policy will benefit tens of thousands of railway traveller, Wang
Wang also said the first special train for college students will be
dispatched from Beijing on January 19. In order to facilitate their return to
Beijing, the ministry has also made round-trip tickets available to students for
the first time.
In another separate report by Beijing Times, Hao Jinsong, a 34-year-old
law school student at the China University of Political Science and Law, said he
had written a letter to the railway minister, suggesting an end to the train
ticket price increase during this year's Spring Festival season.
The letter represents Hao's renewed effort at arguing with the railway
authorities on railway ticket price hikes during the 'chunyun' period after
failing in lawsuits in which he claimed the price increase is invalid without
authorization from the State Council or holding public hearings.
But an unidentified official with the Railway Ministry said "it is impossible
to change the course" which he said was ordered by the National Development
and Reform Commission in January 2002.
Hao said he suggested in the letter the Railway Ministry to stop raising the
ticket price, which he claims has become a channel to pull in extra profits from
He also mentioned "streamlining passengers," which the ministry has
repeatedly cited as a major reason for the price raise, but argued that the
yearly increasing number of passengers has rendered the streamlining impossible.
Rather, he wrote, the passengers are paying more for less satisfactory services,
which goes against the principle of fairness.
The ministry's decision to scrape the annual ticket price hike has caused a
stir among netizens.
Within an hour after the report was posted on sina.com, a Chinese news
portal, a total of 673 posts were left, most hailing it as a welcome gesture and
expressing support for the move. Some say the move is a result of Hao's
relentless pushing efforts.