China’s Peak Travel High-Speed Train Ticket Prices to Increase Nearly 50%

The difference between taking a plane and taking a train in China has just about disappeared: The cost of high-speed train tickets are set to fluctuate widely this year as China's railway fully embraces the open market.

China's railway ministry said it will begin following a new pricing scheme on Apr 28 that will provide off-peak travel discounts while simultaneously introducing price hikes of nearly 50 percent on the same route within days of each other.

Effective until the end of the year, the new plan will see 28 inter-city routes begin offering ticket discounts of 20 percent during weekdays and non-holiday periods.

At the same time, train ticket prices will rise exorbitantly during peak travel periods.

During the upcoming Labor Day long weekend, the price of a soft sleeper ticket on the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed corridor will increase to RMB 860 on Apr 28, whereas the same ticket will cost RMB 740 the next day and fall further still to RMB 560 on Apr 30.

At present, a ticket for a soft sleeper berth on the Beijing-Shanghai D312 costs RMB 650 during the week and RMB 740 on the weekends.

The new pricing scheme will not affect all train tickets; non-sleeper train seats are not expected to change in price.

Beijing Transportation University deputy professor Ma Minshu lauded the price fluctuations, saying that the "public at large will benefit." Ma said the fluctuating prices will encourage people to travel during off-peak seasons, thereby allowing vacancies for those who need it.

Meanwhile, CCTV television broadcaster Voice of China reminded its readers that some people fully expect China's railway to uphold a sense of "public welfare" and reduce prices to ensure publicly accessible travel.

Vacations in China normally occur during the country's few holiday seasons during which travel and tourism peak overnight.

China introduced fluctuating train ticket prices in 2015, allowing for an airline-style marketplace that changed according to consumer supply and demand. 

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