“We took the bullet train because we believed it could save time. But now we don’t even know when we will arrive,” a passenger told the Nanfang Metropolis News. The traveller was the victim of a recent three hour delay on the Wuhan-Guangzhou high-speed railway, which opened in late December. It took some time for rail operators to figure out what set off the alarms. It turned out to be smokers. WiC has reported (frequently) on China’s love affair with cigarettes (see last week’s issue). But lighting up on a bullet train is not allowed, and signs everywhere make this clear. However, that evidently doesn’t stop people – and with good reason. A spokeswoman for Guangzhou Railway Group told media that the company didn’t search for the smoking passengers or impose any fines, as “railway regulations are silent on the issue”.
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