Ladies-only coaches launched on overnight high-speed trains in China

Ladies-only coaches launched on overnight high-speed trains in China

For Tang Tang, a 28-year-old woman, traveling on a night train is a miserable experience, as she is often the lone woman in a compartment filled with men.

"There are of course safety concerns, but things like snoring or stinky feet can also make the journey very unpleasant," she said.

Luckily for women like Tang, things will change, as ladies-only coaches are set to debut in China soon.

China's rail operators said that starting from April 10, they will roll out more personalized services in eight high-speed trains that operate overnight, attracting customers with offers such as deep discounts and ladies-only carriages.

Tickets for the ladies-only compartment can be booked on 12306.cn-China's official train booking website-on routes like Beijing-Guangzhou, Beijing-Shenzhen as well as Shanghai-Guangzhou and Shanghai-Shenzhen.

"When female passengers are booking tickets online, they will be given priority in ticket allocation in the ladies-only compartments because the online system can automatically identify the gender from the ID card," said an unnamed employee working in the Shanghai Railway Bureau.

Apart from ladies-only compartments, bookings for an entire compartment are also available.

"This service is mainly targeted at families that do not want to be disturbed by other passengers," said the employee.

"Earlier, only a single ticket could be purchased with an ID card. But now one can use the card to book the whole carriage."

To become more competitive than airplanes, high-speed rail operators are now offering seasonal discounts of up to 30 per cent for passengers.

A ticket for the lower berth that normally sells for 900 yuan (S$144) on the Shanghai to Shenzhen route is now being offered at 630 yuan from April 10. Prices will be cut by another 20 per cent if it is a group-ticket of more than five people.

Eight high-speed overnight trains that operate in the night were started during the Chinese Lunar New Year to relieve pressure on the railway network due to large number of people making trips.

The new measures have been tailored to attract more passengers for the eight high-speed trains. Experts said that unlike airplanes, high-speed trains are more relaxing and comfortable and the new steps will help win back more travelers.

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