Laos’s Prime Minister’s Office has instructed the Ministry of Public Works and Transport and the Laos-China Railway Company Limited to look into the sale of train tickets after numerous complaints by members of the public about the cost of tickets.
Comments posted on social media say some people are buying tickets from the railway operator and selling them on at an inflated price. If this claim is true, the government will penalise offenders under the relevant legislation.
The government has also advised the Laos-China Railway Company to improve the way that tickets are sold so that the method of sale is consistent and passengers are not inconvenienced, while also ensuring strict compliance with Covid-19 rules.
In addition, the government has advised collaboration with local authorities to increase security along the railway through the closer involvement of village administrations and local people.
According to the Laos-China Railway Company, in the first month of operation, 670,000 people have travelled on the railway and 170,000 tonnes of freight has been shipped.
With passenger and freight transport on the rise, this has been a boon for both the economy and tourism, while the Laos-China rail link has strengthened the China-ASEAN freight corridor. It has also played a key role in improving travel between Laos and China and boosting both domestic and international trade.
The railway is safe, environmentally friendly, efficient, convenient and fast, and has become the top choice of transport, replacing bus travel in many northern areas.
Every day, long queues form at Vientiane station as people hope to get tickets, which can only be purchased at train stations and are not available online.
There is huge interest in taking a ride on the train and sampling the novel experience of travelling rapidly through the Lao countryside on an elevated track.
The railway is a gift to the Lao people from the government of China. Its inauguration on December 3 coincided with the 46th anniversary of the Lao PDR and the 60th anniversary of the establishment of Laos-China diplomatic relations.
VIENTIANE TIMES/ASIA NEWS NETWORK