New option of high-speed train seat draws debate

2024-06-07 Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

The latest discussions surrounding the introduction of a new seating option on China's high-speed trains has ignited fervent debate online, underscoring the public's keen interest in the country's high-speed rail network and associated issues.

In recent developments, some netizens have unearthed a fresh seating category dubbed the "preferred first-class seat" on certain routes via 12306, the railway ticket booking system. Positioned at a price point lower than business class yet higher than first class, this new seating arrangement has piqued the curiosity of netizens, who are eager to uncover its accompanying services.

According to insights gleaned from the 12306 customer service hotline, the "preferred first-class seat" is not universally available across all train services. Priced between business class and first class tickets, passengers holding this ticket are entitled to a bespoke waiting area and expedited ticket verification procedures akin to those enjoyed by business class travelers.

However, as of Wednesday, the "preferred first-class seat" option appears to have been removed from the 12306 system.

Typically, China's bullet trains feature three primary seating categories: business class, first class, and second class. Business class seats are renowned for their spaciousness and the ability to recline fully flat. Each train typically houses a single business class coach, with tickets commanding a considerably higher price point. For instance, on a Beijing to Shanghai route, a business class ticket may cost 1,873 yuan ($258), while a first class ticket is priced at 930 yuan, and a second class ticket at 553 yuan.

As of Wednesday evening, the China State Railway Group has yet to disclose any information regarding the newly introduced seating variant.

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