Ready-meals provided on high-speed trains in China.
Passengers on board high-speed trains departing from 27 stations across China can now enjoy a variety of dishes, after online food ordering services started a pilot scheme on Monday.
The China Railway Corporation (CRC) announced the new service earlier this month, which allows high-speed train passengers to order food provided by the trains as well as by other brands. Passengers can order food via the official ticket booking website 12306.cn as well as its applications, and pay via Alipay.
The 27 stations which began to offer the service on Monday are mainly municipalities and provincial capitals, including Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Shenyang, Wuhan, Jinan, Changsha and Chengdu.
Improvement of food services on high-speed trains
Food served on board trains has long been a target of public complaint, due to its lack of choice, lack of flavor and high prices.
The topic "packed meals on high-speed trains" even stirred a wide discussion on Weibo. Many complaints online targeted the insufficient supply of low-priced ready-meals and their unreasonable high prices, as well as the poor quality of other food on board.
Even though the CRC later responded to the complaints and vowed to improve the situation, the public never ceased with its demands for a more diversified onboard menu.
With the newly added services, passengers now can order food provided by brands other than the CRC. Many fast food chain brands such as KFC, Zkungfu and Yonghe King appeared on the menu of the online ordering application on Monday.
Media reports said there will also be local specialties based on different locations.
How does online food ordering work on high-speed trains?
The online food ordering on board the high-speed trains is just as convenient as the already well-established online catering services people across China enjoy.
A variety of dishes will be on display to passengers on 12306.cn or its application, as well as prices on board. Alipay or WeChat Pay are available, to save the passengers from the trouble of carrying cash. The crew members will deliver the food to their seats according to the orders.
The system will remind passengers to return their food orders if they return the tickets or change their traveling schedules.
Meanwhile, the CRC promised that they will supervise the quality and hygiene of the restaurants linked to the high-speed rail services, to guarantee food safety for passengers.
The move has been widely welcomed by the public, with many seeing it as an innovative attempt to meet the requirements of passengers.
Insiders applauded the attitude of the Chinese railway, saying that by introducing the competitive mechanism, the original food providers will have to improve their quality and services. It will also help to improve the corporate image of the CRC.