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Check that: Shenzhen metro won’t create VIP compartments, just “special” ones

Posted: 07/9/2012 12:55 pm

The Hong Kong Airport Express train

The Shenzhen Metro found itself in a firestorm last week after it was announced it would include VIP cars on trains operating on the new Metr Line 11, which will connect Qianhai with Bao’an Airport.

The Nanfang reported on Saturday:

While not common, first-class public transport trains do exist.  The most notable is next door in Hong Kong, where the East Rail Line connecting Lo Wu with Hung Hom features first class compartments.  Like Shenzhen’s plans, the first class car is roughly double the cost of other train compartments.

No word on what features the first class compartments in Shenzhen will have to justify the added cost.  However, it appears it will, at the very least, guarantee the ticket-holder a seat.  That’s better than in Hong Kong, where first class passengers have to stand if all seats are full.

Shenzhen’s plans were roundly criticized online, with a survey conducted by Sina showing 65% of respondents think setting up VIP compartments is inappropriate.

Shenzhen Metro has since responded with a kinda, sorta, not-really clarification: the compartments won’t be VIP compartments, just “special” ones. From the China Daily:

Chen Qi, deputy manager of the operating company of the Shenzhen Metro, said that that the company is not planning to set up VIP compartments but what they call “special compartments”.

“Line 11 is from downtown to the airport, like an airport express, so it won’t be very crowded,” he said.

“Trains for that line will have eight compartments, instead of six, so we plan to make two compartments special, on which we won’t sell standing tickets. This is to meet the demands of high-end customers,” he said.

This is pretty much exactly what was reported previously, so I’m not sure where the “clarification” comes in.  It is, however, interesting to note that Chen mentioned Hong Kong as a comparable.  Hong Kong indeed does have a special link to the airport, but it doesn’t have special compartments.

Nonetheless, we expect weary and jet-lagged travelers with heavy bags to pony up the extra fen for a seat on the new line 11 when it opens in 2016, no matter what the compartments are called.

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