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What's the buzz

Updated: 2012-07-09 07:58
( China Daily)

There has been a heated debate about Shenzhen's plan to add VIP carriages to its subway trains. Some believe the VIP seats will unnecessarily take up public space, while others support the proposal and point out that railway passengers already enjoy such a service. China Daily cell phone readers share their opinions with us:

Setting up VIP subway carriages is just an excuse for the subway operator to raise ticket prices, which adds to the burden on general passengers and widens the gap between the rich and the poor. It makes no sense asking passengers to pay double for a comfortable traveling environment that should have been guaranteed and accessible in all carriages. It is absurd to reserve carriages for VIP passengers when common commuters struggle to squeeze onto the subway trains.

A reader, Dongguan, Guangdong province

The VIP service is necessary, provided that it does not affect the overall capacity and service. Setting up VIP carriages is environmentally friendly, because wealthy people can take the subway instead of driving. This will ease traffic congestion and pollution.


VIP subway carriages can meet the special needs of passengers. Even someone in his or her 30s will be willing to pay double for a VIP seat. There are buses with air conditioning and those without, so why not set up VIP subway carriages?


It is a bad idea to set up VIP carriages. Subway operators get subsidies to provide a public service. They will violate the fundamental principle of serving the general public if they set up extra carriages for VIP passengers. Besides, subway operators are responsible for ensuring a safe and comfortable traveling environment for all passengers, and they should not make passengers pay extra for these. Moreover, the VIP carriages will have a vacancy rate as most people who can afford the VIP carriages will still prefer to drive or take a taxi.

QIZI, Beijing

Some people do not use public transport because of the crowds. Modestly priced VIP carriages will attract some private car owners and frequent taxi takers to use the subway. However, a full investigation must be carried out to decide the number of VIP carriages needed, so that they will not undermine the capacity of the subway network.

Zhong Qin, Shiyan, Hubei province

It is inappropriate for a public service provider to set up VIP subway carriages. If the subway operators want to demonstrate a real concern for those truly in need, they should learn from the bus operators and set up seats exclusively for people with special needs, such as the elderly and women who are pregnant.

SHOWER, Beijing

Setting up VIP subway carriages is differential pricing. A small number of VIP carriages will not affect the subway capacity. More importantly, this is a pilot project, and if it works, it can be extended to other cities.

LAOTIE, Shanghai

Public transport should address the needs of the general public instead of pursuing profits. Subway operators can set up exclusive carriages for those in need such as the elderly and children.

Jessie, Beijing

Differential pricing for services is very common in a market economy. There are buses with or without air conditioning, and train carriages with soft sleepers and those with hard sleepers, and airlines offering first-class tickets and economy class tickets. People can buy services of varying quality, which is reasonable and has nothing to do with social inequality. The public should not over-interpret it.

A reader, Changsha

(China Daily 07/09/2012 page9)