Laos-China Railway Proposes Standing Tickets

Massive crowds queue for tickets on the Laos-China Railway.
Massive crowds queue for tickets on the Laos-China Railway (Goy Outhachit).

The Laos-China Railway has proposed standing tickets as a way to accommodate large volumes of passengers following the reopening of the country to tourism.

The company posted the suggestion on its Facebook page today, apparently canvassing public opinion prior to making a decision on standing tickets.

The post reads as follows:

“Due to a large volume of passengers but limited seating, we would like to ask you how you would feel about standing tickets (you would buy a ticket at the same price as a regular ticket but you will not be assigned a seat and may sit only when empty seats are available between stations).”

The railway company then asked Facebook users to comment  “1” if they agree with the idea, or “2” if they disagree.

Unsurprisingly, the overwhelming majority of Facebook users have indicated that they disagree with the standing ticket proposal.

Many have expressed that the Laos-China Railway Company should organize itself better and provide more services as well as an online ticketing system rather than taking shortcuts and offering standing seats.

“This is shameful,” one Facebook user commented. “It is supposed to be a high-speed train, not a public bus or a pickup truck.”

Huge crowds at Vientiane Railway Station as railway proposes 'standing tickets.'
Huge crowds at Vientiane Railway Station as the railway proposes ‘standing tickets’ (Photo: Goy Outhachit).

The USD 5.9 billion railway, which was officially opened amid much fanfare by Chinese President Xi Jinping together with Lao President Thongloun Sisoulith in December last year, has been met with criticism by local people and tourism operators alike for its lack of advance booking systems.

The railway company has stated that it plans to implement an online system in the near future, however, passengers are currently limited to purchasing tickets three days in advance, in person.

An influx of tourists from Thailand in recent weeks has seen the railway regularly booked out.