Opinion / Opinion Line

Railway station should provide air conditioning to passengers

(China Daily) Updated: 2016-08-19 08:35

THE TEMPERATURE has almost reached its summer peak, yet in the railway station at Changsha, capital of Central China's Hunan province, the air conditioners in the waiting hall are not in use and people have to pay if they want to enter a cooled room. Beijing News comments:

Weather data show that the outdoor temperature in Changsha was as high as 36 C over the past few days, almost intolerably hot. The waiting hall of the railway station is crowded and the temperatures inside are even higher than outside without the air conditioners on.

Railway stations in China run on public funds, or taxpayers' money, and they are supposed to serve the public. The station should therefore offer air-conditioning as a basic public service to passengers. The fact is they have installed air conditioners in the waiting rooms, but not switched them on, which is a failure of service.

The railway station officials have offered the excuse that the electricity voltage at the station is too unstable. Could they find any weaker excuse? Inside the large waiting hall is a small waiting room where the air conditioners are in use but which people have to pay to enter.

Is the electricity in Changsha railway station smart enough to be selectively unstable? Do they mean the voltage becomes stable when people pay?

Further evidence that they are lying is that even the electric fans in the waiting hall are turned off. Electric fans do not need a stable voltage, yet they too are not in use.

All these arouse the suspicion that they want to compel people to pay to enter the room by turning off the air conditioners and the fans. A suspicion that is reinforced by media reports saying that Changsha railway station has outsourced the small paid waiting room to a commercial company.

Records show that passengers have been complaining since June 1, but the railway station has not taken any action. It was not until Chen Min, a senior local official, criticized the station officials that they responded by claiming the situation is "improving".

No one knows whether it is improving or not. We only know that those that turned off the air-conditioning for the profit of the company should be punished.

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