New meal ser­vice for train trav­el­ers on the right track

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - AS OF MON­DAY,

27 high­speed train sta­tions were pro­vid­ing a pi­lot food-on-de­mand ser­vice to pas­sen­gers, who can pre-or­der food from a se­lec­tion of the out­lets at the sta­tions. China Youth Daily com­mented on Wed­nes­day:

Com­plaints about the ex­pen­sive, taste­less meal boxes of­fered on high-speed trains are not rare, and many pas­sen­gers pre­fer to take in­stant noo­dles with them or else not eat at all while trav­el­ing by train. So the take­outs-on-de­mand that can be or­dered via China Rail­way Corp’s web­site or its app two hours be­fore the train is sched­uled to ar­rive at a se­lected sta­tion could be a sav­ior to those hun­gry trav­el­ers who have no in­ter­est in the meal boxes.

The pre-or­der ser­vice costs as much as that of­fered by pop­u­lar food de­liv­ery apps like Eleme, ex­cept the de­liv­ery fee is around 8 yuan ($1.2), which is slightly higher than in cities.

The ser­vice also serves as an apt re­sponse to the meal box mo­nop­oly.

The bud­ding ser­vice is not with­out flaws, though. Not only will the couri­ers have to fin­ish the de­liv­ery within a few min­utes be­fore the trains leave, they will also need to keep track of un­ex­pected de­lays, which is prob­a­bly why not all the out­lets at the 27 sta­tions are el­i­gi­ble for the pi­lot pro­gram.

And the high de­liv­ery charge is ques­tion­able. A fair ex­pla­na­tion to why it is two times higher than nor­mal de­liv­ery fee has not yet been forth­com­ing. That could raise sus­pi­cions that pas­sen­gers are pay­ing more than they should. The new ser­vice has the po­ten­tial to thrive as long as it pro­vides a qual­ity ser­vice at a rea­son­able price.

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