Trains to reserve seats for the disabled
Updated: 2011-11-10 14:42
By Yang Jie (chinadaily.com.cn)
Chinese railway authorities will set aside seats and berths - at least five on each train - for disabled people, Beijing News reported on Nov 10, citing railway sources.
The special seats will be labeled "Disabled Only" and be located close to doors and washrooms for the convenience of handicapped passengers.
All Chinese trains, from high-speed to the most ordinary, must follow the new policy, but the number of "Disabled Only" seats may vary.
Although it is unknown when these special tickets will go on sale, the preparation work is to be complete by the end of November, according to Beijing News.
Critics said that although the move was good news for the disabled, five tickets per train fell far short of the demand.
The handicapped population in China is 82.96 million, accounting for 6.34 percent of the nation, according to the second Nationwide Sampling Survey of People with Disabilities in 2006.
Train fare already too low
China's train ticket prices are already too low to cut by half for disabled passengers, Beijing News said, citing the Ministry of Railways' written response to proposals submitted by a dozen representatives of the National People's Congress.
Train travel is a significantly cheaper way to get around than driving or flying, as train ticket prices haven't really increased since 1995, and additional discounts are beyond the capacity of railway companies, which are already struggling to make ends meet, the ministry said.