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Festival train ticket hikes under fire
Updated: 2005-03-10 09:27

A political advisor has urged the Ministry of Railways to abandon the practice of raising train ticket prices during the Spring Festival, the Chinese New Year.

Passengers queue up to buy train tickets at railway station in Xi'an, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province January 10, 2005.[newsphoto]
In a proposal submitted to the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the country's top advisory, Wang Xiang said the price hikes were not conducive to the people-centered development philosophy frequently stressed by top Chinese leaders.

During the Spring Festival travel peak, the government and railway departments should provide better services for students and migrant workers, Wang said.

However, the rise of train and bus ticket prices — often hiked by more than 20 percent — brought them extra economic burdens, the CPPCC National Committee member said.

According to Wang, the price rises failed to attain the original objective of the Ministry of Railways, which was to reduce the number of people returning home during the busy holidays.

Vice Minister of Railways Wang Zhaocheng argued the move "apparently" helped alleviate railway transport pressure during the festival. "We have detailed figures to show this," he said, but did not elaborate.

China has to cope with huge flows of passengers during the Spring Festival, incurring constant traffic accidents — a headache for transport departments.

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