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China Considers Cutting Ticket Prices for Bullet Train Services
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The Ministry of Railways is considering cutting ticket prices for the new bullet train services, which begin on April 18, after disappointing initial sales.

The bullet trains promise to reduce journey times by an average of two hours between major cities with speeds of 200 to 250 kilometers per hour.

But fares were 50 percent higher than the current express trains because of "greater costs, faster speeds and better service", said Wang Yongping, spokesman with the Ministry of Railways.

Tickets for the first bullet train services went on sale on April 14, but in some cities sales have been sluggish partly because of the high prices, it is believed.

"We have noticed the public opinion about the ticket prices and will consider slashing prices on the basis of market conditions in the future," said Wang.

Ticket shortages will be alleviated during the May Day holiday as an additional 340,000 seats will be provided every day to make traveling more convenient, said Wang.

The latest round of the "speed boost" will increase the national railway passenger capacity by 18 percent and cargo capacity by 12 percent.

"But it will not be possible for China to completely eliminate the shortages until 2020 when the country's railway network lengthens to 100,000 kilometers," said Wang.

(Xinhua News Agency April 17, 2007)

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