Railway Great Leap Forward
China』s Ministry of Railways announced that during
the first month operation of Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail,
the seat occupancy rate was as high as 107%.
However, the public suspects the figure to be falsified.
Eyewitnesses say that the trains on Beijing-Shanghai line
were not filled.
The Ministry of Railways later explained that
the figure was calculated by accounting for passengers
getting on the trains midway.
Experts say that the calculation is flawed, and
this is another rail great leap forward.
According to The Ministry of Railways』 official website,
in the first month of the Beijing-Shanghai line』s operation,
There were a total of 5,542 train trips,
transporting 5.26 million passengers,
with an average seat occupancy rate of 107%.
The difference between the data and the reality
has left the public wondering.
As per a passenger, who took a high-speed train on July 26,
second-class cars had an occupancy rate of less than 30%.
The rate was even lower for first class cars.
There were only 3 passengers in the business-class cars.
Where did the 107% occupancy rate come from?
The Ministry of Railways responded later that
as trains make stops midway, passengers get on and off.
Thus, same seats can be used by more than one passenger.
Even if the occupancy is over 100%,
the train might not be full.
The calculation used by the Ministry is:
Seat occupancy equals to
the number of tickets sold divided by total number of seats.
The same seats are accounted for several times.
Beijing News quoted Hubei Province Statistics Bureau
Deputy Director Ye Qing that
The calculation used by the Ministry of Railways
is not objective and has flaws.
From an economic point of view,
a 107% occupancy rate sounds like an overstatement.
Ye Qing said that the correct calculation should be
Effective seat occupancy equals to
effective millage divided by seat millage.
Effective millage is the distance travelled
while the seats are occupied,
Seat millage is the total distance travelled by the train.
China Daily quoted Beijing Jiaotong University
railway expert Zhao Jian saying that
America』s Amtrak and most of American airline companies
divide passenger millage by seat millage to calculate occupancy.
This method is consistent with Ye Qing』s suggestion
Central South University Institute of Urban Rail Transit
professor Wang Chengli pointed out that
The Ministry』s calculation is a “Chinese characteristic,"
comparable to “an acre of land producing tons of crop."
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) enjoys exaggeration
with the appearance of being scientific.
Wang Chengli: You know the “Chinese characteristic",
similar to the stories of the Great Leap Forward in 1958,
such as one acre of land produced one ton of crops.
Some even claimed one acre could produce 20 tons.
How were they calculated?
Many renowned experts in China even proved it possible,
with explanation of photosynthesis and energy conservation.
This happens often with the CCP.
So, do not believe them.
Former Changchun Railway Vehicles Co., Ltd
Project Quality Management Engineer Wei Jingyi said that
according to the Ministry of Railways』 calculation,
the public will never know the real occupancy rate.
This is a way to fool the public.
Wei believes that the Ministry is trying to boast a high
occupancy rate, to no avail.
Wei Jingyi: they (Ministry of Railways) want
to prove a high occupancy rate.
However, they indirectly proved that the rate is low.
In the past, occupancy rate was never used,
because Chinese trains are always over-crowded.
According to a field survey done by Beijing News on Aug. 2,
the numbers of travelers on Beijing-Shanghai high speed trains
G141 and G17 were 640 and 634 respectively,
However, the train capacities were 1028 and 1005, respectively.
According to this data, the occupancy rates of G141 and G17
on Aug. 2 were 62% and 63% respectively.
NTD reporters Qin Xue and Xue Li.