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High-speed railway to offer quiet carriage service

By WANG KEJU | China Daily | Updated: 2020-10-28 08:59


The Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway, one of China's busiest high-speed rail lines, will launch a quiet carriage service to provide passengers with a quieter, more comfortable traveling experience, according to the country's railway operator.

The service is expected to start trial operation as early as Dec 23 with no specific regulations released yet, said China State Railway Group. Passengers who are willing to follow protocols would be able to choose the quiet carriages when purchasing train tickets on 12306.cn-the official train ticket booking system.

The 1,318-kilometer railway linking the capital with the eastern coastal economic hub has handled over 1 billion passenger trips as of last September since starting operation in June 2011.

Zhang Xiaodong, an associate professor of rail transport at Beijing Jiaotong University, said passengers won't be allowed to put their phones, laptops or tablets on speaker, and they will have to switch their phones to vibrate or silent mode. For those who have to make phone calls, they will be required to take them in the hallway.

The train attendants will be responsible for dissuading people from misbehaving to ensure the carriage remains quiet and cozy, he added.

Yin Jin, who works for a consulting firm in Beijing and is also a regular high-speed rail passenger, is among a large number of people who are more than thrilled to welcome the quiet carriage service.

Yin has to work during most of his train trips, and if he's lucky, he can sometimes take a nap. Both activities demand a relatively quiet environment, but Yin said he has often been disrupted by either loud, short video music or people shouting into their mobiles.

"With the quiet carriage as an option, I can enjoy some peaceful time on the train with people who have the same idea," he said. "I hope the company will soon promote the service to all the high-speed lines to benefit more people."

Though the service is an attempt to meet travelers' demands for peace and quiet, one expert said that such an environment should be offered in all carriages.

Yang Hongshan, a professor of public governance at Renmin University of China, said that the silent carriage might give people the impression that they don't need to be quiet in non-silent carriages.

"Keeping quiet in public spaces should be a social consensus," he said. "People in whatever carriages are entitled to enjoy some quietness. The service might turn this social norm into one of privilege."

Yang said that in addition to offering the quiet carriage service, the company should step up efforts to guide passengers to remain quiet during train trips in normal carriages.

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