A public hearing on ticket prices for Beijing's new airport express has been held. There are two price points being debated -- 25 or 30 yuan per ride.
25 participants, nearly half of whom are consumer representatives, discussed the ticket prices at the public hearing on Wednesday. They had to choose between 25 yuan or 30 yuan per person per ride between Dongzhimen, a hub in downtown Beijing, and the Capital International Airport.
Both prices are higher than a ride on the airport shuttle bus, but lower than the average cost of driving or a taxi ride.
At 25 yuan per person, annual passenger volumes are estimated at more than 12 million. A 30 yuan ride would lead to lower volumes of about 10 million passengers per year. While the lower price would attract more passengers, the second would allow the express rail operator to offset its operational costs.
Most of the participants preferred the 25 yuan price point. Only one supported the higher price point. And the rest proposed their own prices, which were mainly lower than the two price points being debated.
Lang Danke, Delegate of Beijing Consumers Association said "I support the lower price point. But I think it should be a test price. A more reasonable price could be set after a trial period.
Du Yaqin, Delegate of Beijing OZ Enrollment Center of Int'l Edu. said "We prefer the lower price point. This is based on our survey of 100 students that are potentially going abroad. But in my own opinion, I don't really care about the price. What I care more about is high quality services."
Even though a majority agreed on the lower price, many participants urged the railway operator to improve their services to increase the competitiveness of the express line.
Construction on the 28.1-kilometer express line started in mid-2005, as part of Beijing's preparations for the Olympics. With four stops, a ride on the new line will take just 16 minutes from Dongzhimen to the airport.
Local authorities say they'll work out a final price as soon as possible, with opinions from the hearing as reference.