Another key PRD rail route opens: Macau-Zhuhai to Guangzhou launched, tickets pricey

Cam MacMurchy , January 7, 2013 10:00am

There has been a lot of domestic and international coverage of the new Guangzhou-Beijing high-speed rail in recent days, with much of the coverage noting it’s the longest high-speed rail line in the world.  While it’s a boon to those in Guangzhou who want to get to the capital or points in-between without fighting crowds at Baiyun Airport and sliding into cramped airplane seats, the Guangzhou-Beijing line isn’t the only notable rail link to have opened over the Christmas holidays.

Indeed, Gongbei Station at on the Zhuhai-Macau border opened on December 31, creating easy rail access from nearly all points in the PRD to Zhuhai and Macau.  The line, which isn’t exactly a traditional high-speed rail line, starts at Guangzhou South Station and extends down the west side of the PRD.  Up until the end of 2012, its last station was Zhuhai North, which many will tell you isn’t all that close to Zhuhai.  From there, people had to take an hour long taxi ride to get to the border, sometimes at considerable cost.

The new station opening means the train will extend south from Zhuhai North down to Gongbei, which is the name of the border crossing with Macau.  The journey takes 80 minutes in total, as the line stops multiple times in towns and villages along the route.

So how much does it cost for a ticket? RMB 70 for a regular ticket, or RMB 90 if you want to travel in style, in first class. And that is a problem for many who live along the line, according to the Macau Daily Times:

But according to local media reports, many city residents complained that the tickets are set at unreasonably high prices, which are over 50 percent higher than the prices before the Intercity was extended to the current stop at Gongbei. It was pointed out that at an average of RMB0.598 per kilometer, tickets of Guangzhou-Zhuhai Intercity Railway is even dearer than that of Guangzhou-Shenzhen Intercity Railway (RMB0.58/ km), and is the “most expensive Intercity Railway in the whole country”.

Coaches between Guangzhou and Zhuhai are operating at around RMB60-80 for a one-way ticket and some of the companies are cutting passenger fares to compete with the new Intercity link.

Despite the pricey tickets, the line will be a boon for Zhuhai, which should see many more weekend vacationers pop down from Guangzhou.

If you’re interested in high-speed rail in the PRD, don’t forget to check out our full review of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen section.