June 13, 2011- The bullet train will be open to passengers starting later this month for service between Beijing and Shanghai and tickets for coach-class are much lower than first thought. The tickets will cost about 555 yuan or about $86.00 which may hurt the airline business at that route, one of their busiest. One way trips on two premium classes will be 935 yuan ($145) and 1,750 yuan ($270) on the 185 miles per hour train service.
Tickets prices on another three existing lines will be lowered by 5% as the trains will be slowed to 185 miles per hour to try and lower operating costs and to increase the number of riders. Shares of the operator of Beijing’s airport fell by more than in two years with the fear people will stop flying and will now use the high speed trains. The Ministry of Rails plans to boost the entire rail network to over 75,000 miles by 2015. Air China is now advertising flights for June 19 from Beijing to Shanghai for $64.
The fastest travel time across the rail between the two cities will be just over five hours or just about half of what it takes now. The longest time will be a little over eight hours. The rail began trial operations on May 11th and will be formally inaugurated on July 1st to coincide with the 90th anniversary of the Communist Party founding.
There will be 136 ordinary trains that will continue to operate between the two cities. The country hopes to have over 8,000 miles of high speed service before the end of 2011 and over twice that amount by 2020.