Passengers wait to board a train at Zhengzhou East station in Central China's Henan province, May 4, 2019. (Photo: Xinhua)
China Railway Corporation has announced that passengers will be charged an extra 50 percent of the ticket price if they are caught traveling beyond the length of journey their ticket is valid for.
Such a response from the top railway regulator undoubtedly offers a viable solution to the phenomenon of passengers using short distance train tickets for longer journeys.
This usually happens during peak travel periods, such as holidays, so it not only affects the normal railway capacity, but also means that some passengers with valid tickets are unable to get on the trains. Therefore, it is not enough to punish those passengers buying short distance tickets and traveling longer distance. The passengers whose rights they violate by doing so need to be compensated.
It is not unreasonable for the railway authorities to impose a 50 percent surcharge on passengers who stay longer on the train. According to the railroad passenger management regulation, a passenger can pay the price difference for a longer journey, but only if the train has vacant seats. Otherwise, any occupation of a seat beyond the validity of the purchased ticket may cause him or her to deprive other passengers who buy train tickets of the right to the seat or even board the train.
While charging an extra 50 percent fee for longer stay, the railway authorities, however, should also carefully consider whether to use the money to compensate those passengers whose normal rights and interests are affected. It is unreasonable for the collected fees to go to the railway department, because it is the rights and interests of other passengers that are undermined by some passengers' illegal behavior. For those passengers that are affected, an apology from the railway authorities is not enough. A short journey train ticket carries the spirit of the contract, and both parties have the obligation to abide by the contract.