The Viet Nam Railway Corporation (VNR) will begin a pilot service offering free meals to passengers to mark the addition of six new trains on the North-South line on January 10.
This is one of the new services introduced under the cooperative arrangement between VNR and the Southern Airports Services Joint Stock Company.
Passengers will be provided a main dish and a side dish at certain times of the day.
Main dishes include rice with pork, fish or eggs, fried rice, or fried noodles; each served with soup, fruit and drinks. Side dishes include steamed dumplings, sticky rice and drinks. The menu will change, featuring specialties from each province, and will cater to vegetarians.
Each meal is packaged in accordance with airline standards, with a use-by date of just one day, and are heated before being served. Due to the length of train trips compared to air, meals will be larger.
On the first day the new trains operate, passengers will be offered a 10% discount on tickets. The new trains are made from high-quality materials using modern technologies. Air conditioners are in each carriage and every seat has a socket to recharge electronic devices, a foldable TV under the luggage shelf, and a reading lamp.
The new carriages and free meal service is an effort by VNR to improve service quality. It also said it will focus on providing training courses for railway staff at airline training centers.
VNR has made great efforts in recent months to win back passengers. Dozens of new carriages have been put into use, as have refurbished carriages. A number of promotions have been offered, including 50 per cent discounts and random VND10,000 (US$0.44) tickets for passengers using VNR’s electronic booking system.
To better meet travel demand during the Tet (lunar new year) holiday in mid-February, VNR has upgraded hundreds of carriages and put some 60 new carriages into service, including 30 five-star carriages. Restaurant cars have also been introduced on new first-class trips on popular routes.
At the same time, VNR continues to offer special promotional programs for people subject to preferential policies, including the elderly, children, the disabled, and war veterans.
VNR served some 9.4 million passengers in 2017, down 4% against 2016.