The operator of a high-speed rail service between Beijing and Shanghai says it plans to introduce quiet carriages by the end of the year, and people on social media are making a lot of noise about it.
The Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway Co, which operates the 1,300km (800 mile) route, said the decision had been taken in response to customers’ demands, news website Thepaper.cn reported on Saturday.
People can indicate their preference to travel in one of the new silent carriages when they buy their tickets via the booking app, the report said.
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Anyone who does so will be required to comply with the relevant terms and conditions, though these have yet to be made public, it said.
The high-speed train service between the two Chinese cities has been in operation since 2011 and makes the mammoth trip in between four and a half and six hours. A one-way trip costs between 550 yuan (US$82) and 1,750 yuan.
The report did not say if tickets for the quiet carriages would be subject to a surcharge, but most people on social media seemed in favour of the idea.
“I give this the thumbs up,” one person said on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform. “There are some people who don’t care about upsetting others.”
Another said: “How miserable it is when a quiet environment has to be classed as a luxury! It will take several more generations to improve the civility of the Chinese public.”
Another seemed resigned to a price increase.
“I bet they raise the prices for the quiet carriage,” the person said.
Chinese trains have a reputation for being noisy places, but not everyone finds them so.
Fang Shitong, an executive with a digital television company in Shanghai, said he used the high-speed service to Beijing this month and witnessed hardly any disruptive passengers.
“I stand by the new policy, but if the rail operator increases the prices, I won’t accept it,” he said.
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