Going home, the high-speed way

Updated: 2014-12-08 11:04


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BEIJING - While most office workers in central Beijing head home by bus or subway after a hard day's work, Lyu Biao goes home by high-speed train.

Lyu lives in Tianjin, some 120 kilometers away from central Beijing. Every morning, he takes the subway from home to Tianjin Railway Station, where he boards a high-speed train to Beijing South Railway Station, followed by another subway journey. It's the same trip in reverse to get home.

The expanding high-speed train network and property prices in big cities have seen the birth of the "high-speed train tribe."

This demographic came to light when Lyu Biao posted his daily routine on his microblog, attracting media attention and prompting a heated online discussion.

Some questioned Lyu's lifestyle, spending about four hours on the road every day and roughly 2,600 yuan ($423) a month on transportation, more than enough to board in Beijing.

"With so much time wasted on road, I'd rather board somewhere and save my time," read one comment.

Others were more supportive, saying that a comfortable high-speed train was much better than being crammed into a sweaty subway car.

Most people simple consider Lyu's way too time consuming and tiring, but the train tribe think otherwise.

Qian Ying, also commutes between Beijing and Tianjin by fast train and is quite used to it. With a courtesy card issued by the rail company, people he is assured of seats in the No 6 car.

"We all sit in the same car and we have become very familiar with each other," Qian told Xinhua.

Having caught wind of the trend, rail operators plan more high-speed trains catering to the needs of the train tribe. Last month, Beijing was connected to Hebei's Langfang city, only 30 kilometers away.

With high-speed trains gaining steam in metropolises like Shanghai and Chengdu, more office workers are likely to jump on the bandwagon of commuting by rail.

"The way home might be tiring, but it' s worth it because I can see my children and enjoy a home cooked meal," Qian said. "These are moments you don't get to enjoy in a boarding house."