A salesperson has been dismissed after hiking the price of instant noodles on a train delayed 14 hours because of heavy snowfall in central China, railway authorities said in a statement Sunday.
While the train was stranded somewhere in Henan province on Thursday, seller Tao Xudong added 1 yuan ($0.15) to the noodles’ usual price of 6 yuan. A passenger then called the railways’ customer service, and the conductor immediately rushed to the carriage, according to the statement.
The conductor apologized to the eight passengers who had paid the surcharge and returned their money. Tao was later fired, and the person in charge of the restaurant car was removed from their position, the statement said, adding that the incident “runs counter to the railways’ service objectives.”
While some net users said the punishment far exceeded the crime, others praised the railways — an institution that until a few years ago was infamous for corruption — for their swift reaction.
China’s railways have in recent months made efforts to improve their customer service. In July, they began allowing food delivery from outside vendors such as KFC on long-distance train rides, and in October gave customers the option to select their seats online.
The train in question was on its way from Jinan in eastern China to Chongqing in the southwest — already a 27-hour journey when running to schedule.
Heavy snow blanketed much of China last week, causing flight and train cancellations, as well as damage to buildings. Eight people died in the eastern province of Anhui, including one woman who was killed at a bus stop when the shelter collapsed under the weight of the snow.
Editor: Qian Jinghua.
(Header image: A woman eats instant noodles on a train to Chengdu, Sichuan province, Jan. 14, 2014. Liu Xingzhe for Sixth Tone)