Opinion / Opinion Line

Offering seat on bullet train is not an obligation

(China Daily) Updated: 2016-05-09 08:01

Offering seat on bullet train is not an obligation

High-speed train CRH380A lined up at Qingdao, Shandong province. Provided to China Daily

A COLLEGE GIRL in Southwest China's Sichuan province was criticized for not offering her seat on a train to an 80-year-old woman who had a standing only ticket. Southern Metropolis Daily commented on Saturday:

It is inappropriate to blame the college student for not sharing her seat with the old woman, or the old woman's daughter who made a mountain out of a molehill.

True, it has become a consensus that the seats on buses and subways should be offered to those in need, including senior citizens. But seats on bullet trains are reserved by passengers who book their tickets in advance, and therefore passengers have the right to use their seat or offer it to a standing passenger as they choose. If someone is warm-hearted enough to offer his or her seat to the person in need, it should be encouraged.

However, the old woman who failed to claim a seat beforehand did need a seat. To efficiently encourage more people to give up their seats to those in need, measures should be taken to reward their good deeds.

For example, train passengers who offer their seats to the disabled or the elderly can be kept on record as "the exemplary passengers" and be offered favorable policies for future trips. When a standing passenger in need applies for a seat, stewards should negotiate with all seated passengers, not just the youngsters, for their help.

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