More Chinese are choosing bullet trains over airplanes

A major flight delay problem in China means more people are turning to fast trains.

China's massive investment in high-speed rail -- which will eventually reach 90 percent of the population -- seems to be paying off, Bloomberg reports:

[R]ailways increased passenger numbers by 11 percent in the first half of 2013, compared with 4.8 percent for the whole of 2012, according to China Railway (1186), which didn’t provide a breakdown for bullet train users.

The high-speed train line between Beijing and Shanghai -- the busiest airline route -- carried 40 percent more people in its second year of operation through June, according Xinhua.

Chinese airlines increased passengers by 9.2 percent in each of the past two years, data from the aviation regulator show. That’s the slowest growth since 2006, the year the regulator began making figures available, except for 2008 during the global financial crisis.

So why are more people choosing trains over planes? China's flight delay problem is making the premium ticket price to fly not worth it. With Beijing's on-time departure rate at an astounding 18 percent in July, it's hardly surprising that travelers aren't taking the risk when there's a fast, reliable option available.

Read more: Bloomberg

Photo: Flickr/triplefivechina

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