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Public En Route to Setting Price
The public could soon have a say on the price of tickets to travel by public transport on highways during the coming Spring Festival, according to the State Development Planning Commission (SDPC).

Public hearings will occur if provincial pricing authorities decide to float prices during the travel time peak.

The commission, authorized to govern and regulate pricing, unveiled on Wednesday a circular, requiring provincial pricing authorities to organize public hearings before unveiling price changes.

However, an official with the commission said hearings are not expected to be held if airliners and railway companies decide to raise ticket prices and transportation cost.

"So far, we have not received applications from those concerned to organize such hearings," said an official with SDPC's Pricing Department.

Before the commission's newly-unveiled circular, provincial pricing and transportation governing authorities were authorized to increase and decrease highway transportation prices, neglecting the public and consumers.

The circular is in line with the State's Pricing Law and the State's hearing regulation on the government's pricing decision.

At present, the State has a multi-level pricing structure. For most products, their prices are decided by market forces.

For those products related with the importance of the public's daily life, governmental authorities are authorized to govern in accordance with market trends. However, before final decisions are made, public hearings are required.

This week, transportation and pricing authorities in South China's Guangdong Province organized a hearing on highway price floating during the Spring Festival.

(China Daily December 13, 2001)

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