Caixin
BUSINESS & TECH

China to Boost High-Speed Rail Tickets on Ningbo-to-Shenzhen Line

By Lu Bingyang and Yang Ge

(Beijing) — China will raise prices on a stretch of its state-of-the-art high-speed rail network in the southeast part of the country, marking the first such increase since 2015 as the operator seeks to strike a balance between supply, demand and its large debt load.

The hikes will see second-class ticket prices rise by 25% to 30% on the stretch of rail between the eastern port city of Ningbo and the southern city of Shenzhen, across the border from Hong Kong, an official with the local rail authority told Caixin, speaking on condition of anonymity. First-class ticket prices will rise by an even steeper 65% to 70%, he said.

The affected stretch is part of a coastal corridor that connects Shanghai and Shenzhen. Ticket prices will remain unchanged on two other main stretches on that corridor — one connecting Shanghai with the eastern city of Hangzhou, and another connecting Hangzhou with Ningbo.

To partly compensate for the price hikes, the rail operator will increase train speeds on the line to 250 kph from a previous 200 kph. Upgrades are currently being made to the line to facilitate such higher speeds, and should be ready by the time new prices take effect on April 21. By comparison, trains on the lines connecting Shanghai and Ningbo run at 300 kph.

In addition, the 1,309-km Ningbo-to-Shenzhen line will implement a system that allows the operator to change prices based on peak and low travel seasons.

China has spent hundreds of billions of yuan building a state-of-the-art 22,000-km high speed rail system that now links up most of the country.

In December an official said that China planned to spend 3.5 trillion yuan ($509 billion) in the railway sector as part of the country’s 13th Five-Year Plan, which charts development goals for 2016-20. Under the plan, the government will build 30,000 km of new track over the five years, which will expand the country’s railway network to a total of 150,000 km.

Contact writer: Yang Ge (geyang@caixin.com)

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