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Old March 20th, 2014, 11:41 AM   #7741
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cosmicbliss View Post
What about the following key concerns:
1. Can poor people afford HSR?
2. The financial burden of it?
I think that depends on the definition of "poor" people, migrant workers who have jobs in large cities can generally afford the infrequent travels on HSR. The 2-300 million in poverty mostly live in remote villages or western cities that don't have HSR service anyway. During my recent trip to China I find that the trains carry a significant percentage of what appear to be migrant workers or manual labour, to a point that it's no longer a very comfortable ride, thus most people travel on business opt for the first class seating. The guy sitting next to me is from Liuan in Anhui, he works in Shanghai as an appliance repair person, his family are all back in Liuan so every couple of months he travels back via HSR, he doesn't think the RMB 180 or so ticket is a huge issue, he said it used to cost half as much but the journey is so much longer it's completely worth it, because for most migrant workers time off is much harder to come by.

Regarding the financial burden, we cannot simply looking at direct revenue from ticket sales or station storefront leases. As a government infrastructure project the HSR network is also generating economic benefit in cities and towns along the line, boosting business and real estate values. By itself CRC is in the red, but if we counting the overall return I believe it's a firm plus.
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Old March 20th, 2014, 11:46 AM   #7742
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Chinese HSR is one of the cheapest in the world (if not the cheapest), considering the vast infrastructure and network.
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Old March 20th, 2014, 11:48 AM   #7743
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chornedsnorkack View Post
Easily, and in a significant sense. Peopleīs Republic of China does NOT have a free movement of labour.

It is true that, since 2003, people are not arrested and forcibly returned home (or beaten to death, like Sun Zhigang) for the mere fact of being found outside of their hukou residence. But neither are they legal migrants!

Legal migrants exist - it is possible to get hukou of a new place. Shenzhen had 300 000 inhabitants in 1979, so probably under 400 000 natives (people who lived in Shenzhen back in 1979, and their descendants), yet 3 million legal residents with Shenzhen hukou. So most Shenzhen citizens, over 2,5 millions, are legal immigrants (or their descendants).
And yet, only 3 million of the 10 million residents of Shenzhen have Shenzhen hukou. The rest, over 7 millions, are illegal immigrants.

A person away from the place where he or she has hukou is not entitled to a lot of services! Cannot get unemployment benefits - if he does lose his job and runs out of money then he is sent home by police, though usually not beaten to death - cannot get medical care, cannot educate his children.

China habitually hunts down and forcibly shuts down private schools founded to educate illegal immigrant children. Which is why large numbers of children are left behind at home with grandparents attending school, while parents go to city for work.

And thatīs a strong incentive to go home as often as possible.

The legal position of these workers without hukou is in a very significant way that of "illegal immigrant". True, not exactly - like they are not arrested randomly merely for being found. But their ineligibility to social benefits, whether without hukou or by asking and getting the hukou, means that it is important to distinguish them from legal migrants who do get hukou.

And "illegal immigrant" is in a significant sense applicable to that position.

Now, back to the implications.

If migrant workers came as legal migrants, entitled to iron rice bowl, social benefits in case of unemployment, medical care in illness and putting their children to the city schools, then they could more easily settle down in cities where they find employment, and lose contact with their places of origin.

They are by force of law and public policy prevented from settling in the cities. 18 % of all Chinese are illegal immigrants, whereas the total of bourgeois, including the legal immigrants, is 36 %.

This policy of forcibly preventing them from settling gives them a big incentive to keep contact with their place of hukou. An incentive which does not apply in other countries that do have free movement of labour and where migrant workers can get the same social benefits in cities as they did or would get back home.
I guess you never heard of temporary resident permit? It's easily obtainable for anyone who can produce a proof of employment in the city. People with hukou are no longer immigrant, they are considered resident. Also keep in mind although those guys have their families back home they still can't travel back frequently because they simply cannot get time off from their employers, or they choose to work instead of travel to earn more money. I don't buy the myth that migrant workers can't afford to travel, a typical waitress in Shanghai earns as much or more money than an entry level college graduated office worker.
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Old March 20th, 2014, 12:40 PM   #7744
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Originally Posted by hmmwv View Post
I guess you never heard of temporary resident permit? It's easily obtainable for anyone who can produce a proof of employment in the city.
Iīve heard of it. But what does it give? Is it equal to hukou in case of unemployment, illness or school age children?
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmmwv View Post
People with hukou are no longer immigrant, they are considered resident. Also keep in mind although those guys have their families back home they still can't travel back frequently because they simply cannot get time off from their employers, or they choose to work instead of travel to earn more money.
People with hukou still have their parents and siblings back home, even if their own child does live with them and goes to school in the city.

Checked your neighbour from Liuan, too. The route has 3 K trains per day, trip time 7:12 to 7:59, hard seat 91 yuan. Sleepers are available but none of the 3 travels overnight - they go beyond and thatīs overnight, but last train reaches Liuan at 0:29 and Xinyang at 5:15, so no good sleeping to Liuan. By contrast the 19 D trains take 3:22 to 4:28, and cost 178 or 184 yuan second class.

So, even migrant workers can afford the D train price, and the time is worth it. It would make a big difference if people who now get the time and money to go home each 2 months could afford to do so each month, or actually 4 times a month. Because for a weekend... Last train Friday evening, D3046, leaves Shanghai 17:47, after work, and arrives 21:46. First train Saturday morning, D2202, leaves 6:30 and arrives Liuan as early as 9:52. On the way back, D3062 leaves Luan at 18:25 and arrives in Hongqiao 22:32.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmmwv
The 2-300 million in poverty mostly live in remote villages or western cities that don't have HSR service anyway.
And many migrant workers come from these places. And can only go home twice a year by slow train or bus.

When HSR is opened to these western cities or nearby small towns, these migrant workers can start going home more than twice a year. And some people from these places who did not want to become migrant workers to go home only twice a year can then become migrant workers.
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Old March 20th, 2014, 01:59 PM   #7745
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Restless View Post
If we define failure for HSR as operating at a financial loss for their entire lifetime, then we're looking at a number of lines in the UK and Spain.

If we define failure for HSR as costing more than the overall economic benefit it delivers, again we have a few in the UK and Spain.

In the case of the UK, construction costs are so high that they can't hope to recoup the initial investment.

In the case of Spain, they overbuilt and have some lines where there simply isn't enough passenger traffic and economic benefit to recoup the initial investment.

The new Dutch line looks like a disaster as well.
The lines still have a benefit, but losses must be taken, write-downs must occur, bond holders lose money. There is no such thing as free money - it comes from someone being productive.

Yet, if a country is willing to write off the loss it's good to have HSR rather than not. But convincing people to pay for it is a challenge especially when better alternatives exist such as in The Western Hemisphere.

Spain, especially, has HSR rail and stations To Nowhere after their RRE bubble popped.
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Old March 20th, 2014, 02:09 PM   #7746
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chornedsnorkack View Post
When HSR is opened to these western cities or nearby small towns, these migrant workers can start going home more than twice a year. And some people from these places who did not want to become migrant workers to go home only twice a year can then become migrant workers.
Chorned they CAN but they WILL NOT. I know these people, I have friends who live in western cities and small towns, I live there, and whilst they like HSR it's just too expensive for them to use. They don't travel much and consider travel a luxury, even with long distance day time buses to nearby big cities.

Just too expensive to the average person.

When I discuss it with them, they like it, but it's out of their reach and so they are indifferent to it because they can't afford the bus to go to Big City now. CRH rail is beyond their budgets.

So those migrant workers who earn 1800 to 3500 a month won't be spending it on returning home more often when the trip costs 500 to 900 one way. That's a very expensive trip to most Chinese, and they would rather not travel and save the money.

Stories are common of the worker who got stuck buying a HSR ticket home and spent too much, they always mention how expensive the ticket price is to them. They would rather save the money, return one per year, use the slow train, consume 3 days in travel time, spend 200 Yuan, than spend 800 Yuan and save 2.5 days travel time.

Chinese also work up to 28 days of 30 a month. There is no 'weekend' in China. Banks are open nearly every day of the year. Sunday is like any other day.

They also do not get time off to travel. National Week and Spring Festival are all the holidays most workers get and with cheap train tickets they can only afford to go once per year and usually choose Spring Festival. The CRH at 5X times the price won't have them returning home.

The middle class and above, on the other hand, appreciate and use the HSR often. Shanghai and the large cities nearby resemble any European city with HSR and multiple hub lines leading into the biggest city. People there use it twice a day.

There have been constant Chinese media articles about the HSR being too expensive, these stories began back in 2008, so the migrant workers won't be using it more than once a year maybe twice when they earn more money.

So in theory, yes.
In reality, no.
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Old March 20th, 2014, 03:08 PM   #7747
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Quote:
Originally Posted by China Hand View Post
So those migrant workers who earn 1800 to 3500 a month won't be spending it on returning home more often when the trip costs 500 to 900 one way. That's a very expensive trip to most Chinese, and they would rather not travel and save the money.

Stories are common of the worker who got stuck buying a HSR ticket home and spent too much, they always mention how expensive the ticket price is to them. They would rather save the money, return one per year, use the slow train, consume 3 days in travel time, spend 200 Yuan, than spend 800 Yuan and save 2.5 days travel time.
Example - Guilin.
If Guilin citizen works in Beijing then a hard seat costs 236 yuan and takes 21 to 27 hours. Second class seat in G529 costs 806 yuan, and takes 10:32. So it makes sense that Guilin citizens in Beijing cannot go home or go home by slow train.
But if a Guilin citizen works in Nanning then hard seats cost 62 yuan 5 jiao to 64 yuan 5 jiao, and take from 5:09 to 5:47. Whereas second class seats in D trains cost 111 yuan, and take 2:39 to 2:51.

So, if the migrant workers in faraway coastal cities cannot afford HSR, the migrant workers in nearby western province capitals might.
Quote:
Originally Posted by China Hand View Post

The middle class and above, on the other hand, appreciate and use the HSR often. Shanghai and the large cities nearby resemble any European city with HSR and multiple hub lines leading into the biggest city. People there use it twice a day.
It is possible only for short distances. And expensive even then. Nanjing-Shanghai can be done in 1:07 one way by the nonstop G trains. But in second class, it is 134 yuan 5 jiao - so 269 yuan each day, and 7532 yuan over the 28 working days of month.
Quote:
Originally Posted by China Hand View Post
so the migrant workers won't be using it more than once a year maybe twice when they earn more money.
But when they earn more money and can start going home for National Day in addition to New Year, it adds a lot of travellers.
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Old March 20th, 2014, 03:34 PM   #7748
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Chorned - You are posting based upon research you read online and I am re-telling you the conversation I had with a coworker today, we live in a small city in western China, about the new train and she tells me it's expensive. I mention the bus, she tells me that's expensive also. Her opinion is very common here.

Many here think that it is too expensive.

I know people who worked in the coast or other cities distant and travel home and they do it once a year and they are middle class and can afford the train. Migrant workers are going to take the slow train, 3 days, and save the money - just as they have for years.

You are arguing using abstractions and I am telling you what people in China say and do.

You can continue being argumentative and citing websites and timetables, or you could accept 1st and 2nd hand accounts.
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Old March 20th, 2014, 03:56 PM   #7749
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People will generally complain how everything is expensive. Even if free, it would have been too expensive for some. OK, let's say that HSR in China is relatively costly compared to the average income. True, but for all the infrastructure and service provided by China Rail, it is still quite cheap, and practically free compared to Europe.

Last edited by drezdinski; March 20th, 2014 at 04:07 PM.
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Old March 20th, 2014, 04:28 PM   #7750
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Quote:
Originally Posted by China Hand View Post
Chorned - You are posting based upon research you read online and I am re-telling you the conversation I had with a coworker today, we live in a small city in western China, about the new train and she tells me it's expensive. I mention the bus, she tells me that's expensive also. Her opinion is very common here.

Many here think that it is too expensive.

I know people who worked in the coast or other cities distant and travel home and they do it once a year and they are middle class and can afford the train. Migrant workers are going to take the slow train, 3 days, and save the money - just as they have for years.

You are arguing using abstractions and I am telling you what people in China say and do.

You can continue being argumentative and citing websites and timetables, or you could accept 1st and 2nd hand accounts.

people in china also believe foreign governments shower one with benefits, money and rights abroad or other such misconceptions, so i wouldn't get a socioeconomic quantitative and qualitative analysis of the price impact based solely on informal surveying.

with a diversified offer, travelers will find the suitable options as you say, unfortunately sometimes speed can be out of reach.
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Old March 20th, 2014, 05:45 PM   #7751
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CHINA | High Speed Rail

Chinese people genuinely believe America + Canada is this wonderful land, and put down China in comparison. It obviously depends on your place in life, but little do they know lol. I guess I'm glad for the inferiority complex because it keeps pushing Chinese to advance further, even if they are in reality doing better than they realize.
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Old March 20th, 2014, 07:51 PM   #7752
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All this talk about ticket prices is missing one important point: what is the objective of the HSR company? Is it to maximize profit? If not, then what?
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Old March 20th, 2014, 10:21 PM   #7753
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chornedsnorkack View Post
It is possible only for short distances. And expensive even then. Nanjing-Shanghai can be done in 1:07 one way by the nonstop G trains. But in second class, it is 134 yuan 5 jiao - so 269 yuan each day, and 7532 yuan over the 28 working days of month.
Actually China Hand is incorrect to state that they work 28 days a month, the vast majority don't, the reason that most places open during the weekend is because they have different shifts. And people rarely commute between Shanghai and Nanjing on a daily basis, for those who do their employer will reimburse the travel expense. The more common HSR commuters are between Shanghai and Kunshan, which cost about RMB17 IIRC.
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Old March 21st, 2014, 03:32 AM   #7754
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Originally Posted by chornedsnorkack View Post
Easily, and in a significant sense. Peopleīs Republic of China does NOT have a free movement of labour.

It is true that, since 2003, people are not arrested and forcibly returned home (or beaten to death, like Sun Zhigang) for the mere fact of being found outside of their hukou residence. But neither are they legal migrants!

Legal migrants exist - it is possible to get hukou of a new place. Shenzhen had 300 000 inhabitants in 1979, so probably under 400 000 natives (people who lived in Shenzhen back in 1979, and their descendants), yet 3 million legal residents with Shenzhen hukou. So most Shenzhen citizens, over 2,5 millions, are legal immigrants (or their descendants).
And yet, only 3 million of the 10 million residents of Shenzhen have Shenzhen hukou. The rest, over 7 millions, are illegal immigrants.

A person away from the place where he or she has hukou is not entitled to a lot of services! Cannot get unemployment benefits - if he does lose his job and runs out of money then he is sent home by police, though usually not beaten to death - cannot get medical care, cannot educate his children.

China habitually hunts down and forcibly shuts down private schools founded to educate illegal immigrant children. Which is why large numbers of children are left behind at home with grandparents attending school, while parents go to city for work.

And thatīs a strong incentive to go home as often as possible.

The legal position of these workers without hukou is in a very significant way that of "illegal immigrant". True, not exactly - like they are not arrested randomly merely for being found. But their ineligibility to social benefits, whether without hukou or by asking and getting the hukou, means that it is important to distinguish them from legal migrants who do get hukou.

And "illegal immigrant" is in a significant sense applicable to that position.

Now, back to the implications.

If migrant workers came as legal migrants, entitled to iron rice bowl, social benefits in case of unemployment, medical care in illness and putting their children to the city schools, then they could more easily settle down in cities where they find employment, and lose contact with their places of origin.

They are by force of law and public policy prevented from settling in the cities. 18 % of all Chinese are illegal immigrants, whereas the total of bourgeois, including the legal immigrants, is 36 %.

This policy of forcibly preventing them from settling gives them a big incentive to keep contact with their place of hukou. An incentive which does not apply in other countries that do have free movement of labour and where migrant workers can get the same social benefits in cities as they did or would get back home.
You are confusing "not the preferred way to migrate" with "illegal". Hukou's are a way to limit the higher social expenses having to be paid to all city dwellers. They allow cities to welcome tons of cheap labor, without requiring the cities to immediately pay the expensive (city standard of living) care that a local hokou would entitle those labor migrants to.
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Old March 21st, 2014, 03:36 AM   #7755
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Beijing-Fuzhou HSR,March 2014

Constructions in Anhui province.
1.

2.

3.

4.

From gov.cn
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Old March 21st, 2014, 05:12 AM   #7756
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You are confusing "not the preferred way to migrate" with "illegal".
It's illegal and those without papers have few rights.
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Old March 21st, 2014, 05:23 AM   #7757
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Actually China Hand is incorrect to state that they work 28 days a month, the vast majority don't, the reason that most places open during the weekend is because they have different shifts.
I have other priorities in life than convincing someone thousands of kms distant of a conversation I had yesterday.

1 - Many work 6 days a week and 13 days of 14 - I speak with them. Friends and acquaintances. These are people in the western cities that we are discussing using the train.

2 - HSR prices are too expensive, the Chinese who live in western small cities tell me this to my face, in person, one this week when I mentioned if they would take the train.

I live in a Chinese western small city surrounded by villages. I don't live in Shanghai, or Europe doing online research on schedules arguing minutae.

This is 1st hand reporting of the attitudes of end consumers.

Continue to argue with me if you must, but I have other things to do.
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Old March 21st, 2014, 05:46 AM   #7758
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It's illegal and those without papers have few rights.
They have the rights their Hukou gives them, in the place their Hukou is issued. What exactly is illegal?
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Old March 21st, 2014, 08:24 AM   #7759
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@Surel: I've been (relatively) busy. Thus my responses have been slow. My posts were mostly directed toward the other guy. Equating HSR viaducts with a disregard for aesthetics or the environment is a bad argument for several reasons.

I cannot agree with your new point. Infrastructure and a consumer society are not a zero sum game. Both economic theory and historical evidence lead to the opposite conclusion. The theory goes like this; infrastructure leads to increased efficiency and higher productive capacity (multiplier effect), whereas simple consumption is the end of the economic chain. Think of all the high-income places in the world. They started from a lower base. Their investment in infrastructure allowed for faster/higher capacity transport of people/goods--Each one of them became wealthier AFTER investing/spending money on infrastructure. Conversely, think of all the places which haven't invested in infrastructure. How many of these places have half-decent living standards? There's a verified causal (via actual history) relationship--infrastructure spending leads to higher living standards.

Now, people may argue that the working class cannot afford HSR. Maybe so at this time. Yet the existing trains are already packed, and living standards are increasing, and have been increasing. But "good" infrastructure always has to plan ahead. A mere 15 years ago, grade separated mass transit in the largest Chinese cities was often seen as an unaffordable, unnecessary folly--does anyone still make that assertion?

The graph pitting present day China infrastructure investment should be pitted against historical statistics of the now-developed nations. When the New Deal was taking place in 1930s America and Marshall Plan Postwar European reconstruction, contemporary critics argued that large scale infrastructure investment was wasteful because the then-poor population could not afford to use it. They had a point too--for a while. The old Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact satellites undertook a similar program.

There's a much higher need for infrastructure investment in China, as the present system (despite nonstop investment) is nowhere close to satisfying demand. The nations listed in your graph went through a similar stage several decades ago. The technology may have changed, but the underlying economic impetus has not. Germany (and others) went through a similar stage many years ago.

Now, you could argue that infrastructure investment could be done incorrectly. Infrastructure inevitably becomes outdated, and it can become obsolete (e.g. shipping canals being replaced by railroads, regional airports being replaced by HSR.) But they still provide utility in the meantime. There are very few cases of flat out infrastructure futility. The Charleroi Metro? Pointless to have something so elaborate go through such a small city. Montreal Mirabel Airport? Unused because there was a perfectly good Dorval in a much better location, and Montreal was undergoing political turmoil. Ride a subway in China. Ride a train in China. You'll realize the system is nowhere close to finished.

Getting back to the examples of New Deal America and Marshall Plan European construction, BOTH of these were paid for by PRINTING fiat money. Chicago school/Austrian economists warn that increasing money supply leads to hyperinflation. Yet these cases proved them wrong. Government can also incur debt to finance infrastructure. When you go to New York or Paris or Moscow or Tokyo, do you appreciate the convenience and efficiency of their infrastructure spending, do you think it was worth the effort?

Last edited by particlez; March 21st, 2014 at 11:36 AM.
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Old March 21st, 2014, 09:24 AM   #7760
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Not sure what exactly we are arguing about here. So where are still hundreds of millions of Chinese, particularly in the west, who can't afford HSR. Fine, but there are hundreds of millions of others who can. The system is busy and it would be difficult to argue now that the idea to build it was erroneous.
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