Source: Vientiane Times
Passengers on the Laos-China Railway may purchase only two tickets at a time and must present their ID card and Covid-19 vaccination certificate when buying tickets at the new sales outlet in the city centre, the Laos-China Railway Company has announced.
The company opened the ticket office at the Vientiane Center shopping mall on Friday, as an alternative to the purchase of tickets at railway stations and making the process easier for many people living in Vientiane.
The restriction on the number of tickets that can be purchased is seen as a measure to address the problem of touts buying a large number of tickets and reselling them at an inflated price, taking advantage of the high demand for rail travel.
With the only ticket outlet in Vientiane previously being at the station more than 10 kilometres from the city centre, the inconvenience this posed opened the door for middlemen to unlawfully stockpile tickets.
The rail operator said the provision of a ticket office at the shopping mall would make things easier for passengers, with tickets available for purchase up to three days before the date of travel.
The office sells tickets for travel on the C82 service between Vientiane and Luang Prabang, Xay and Boten stations. Tickets for travel on the C84 service from Vientiane to Luang Prabang are also on sale.
Tickets can be purchased every day from 10-12 am and from 12:30-15:30 pm. Sales will stop when all seats are booked, the company said on its Facebook page.
Payment can be done online via UnionPay, QR code (OnePay, UnionPay, Alipay, and Wechat). Payment by cash is currently not possible.
The cost of tickets has been approved by the government, but passengers must pay an additional 20,000 kip per ticket as a service charge.
The two EMU trains run twice a day at a speed of about 160 km per hour.
Since passenger services began on December 4, 2021, travel on the railway, which runs from Vientiane north to the Chinese border, has become a popular mode of transport.
Trains had carried 124,225 passengers as of February 13. This is equivalent to 1,725 people every day on average, with the numbers exceeding 2,800 on peak days.
In addition, up until this date the railway carried 157,568 tonnes of freight, averaging 2,188 tonnes a day, with a daily peak of 6,748 tonnes.
In light of the growing demand for passenger transport, the rail operator will run a standard train starting in March, with tickets 30 percent cheaper than for travel on the high-speed EMU trains.