Xiamen-Shanghai bullet trains start with a big success, but future uncertain

Updated: 2010-04-28
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Read more on: xiamen   Shanghai   May Day   World Expo  
The rail route of the bullet trains that link Shanghai and Xiamen.
Tickets for bullet trains linking Shanghai and Xiamen, a line that was just put into use Monday, are selling out ahead of the May Day holiday, according to the Shanghai Railway Bureau.

"This will bring more convenience to travelers going between the two major tourist destinations," said an official with the bureau surnamed Tao Monday. Tao added that the trains will help more tourists from the south to visit the upcoming World Expo.

Taihainet, a famous news portal, reported on Friday that all available tickets sold out in the first hour as Xiamen residents grabbed tickets for the train's first day of operation.

According to the Shanghai Railway Station Monday, there are no economy-class tickets left from Xiamen or Shanghai on May 1, and tickets from April 29 to May 1 are selling extremely well.

Previously there was only one train with a passenger capacity of 1,000 running between the two terminals, around 1,300 kilometers long, and with the addition of a second, the line can carry roughly 3,500 travelers a day.

The duration of the voyage has been reduced to around 8 hours, a far cry from the previous 22 hours.

Penny-pinching May Day travelers may be using the new bullet train to save a bit of cash. "There are no discounts for plane tickets right now, and the bullet train charges much less," said Zhong Shi, a local resident planning to travel to Xiamen during the May Day holiday Monday.

One economy-class ticket between Shanghai and Xiamen is set at 359 yuan ($52.6) on May 1. Economy-class tickets by plane on that date can be over 1,000 yuan ($146.4), as of Monday, but normally plane tickets between Shanghai and Xiamen are only around half that amount.

A bullet train line, from Qingdao, Shandong Province to Hankou, Wuhan Province, was cancelled on April 15 after a five-month battle with airlines for customers.

According to the Shanghai Railway Bureau, only 46 tickets have been sold for May 6 from Shanghai to Xiamen as of Monday.

The bureau launched another high-speed train Monday, between Hangzhou and Xiamen.
SOURCE:  Global Times
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