Horsing around on the train

Update: May, 28/2019 - 00:00

They say you shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ignore the horse altogether.

Vietnam Railways (VNR) has learnt this lesson the hard way, after its customers turned up their noses to free food.

Since the beginning of last year, VNR began offering free meals to passengers to mark the addition of six new trains on the North-South line and to attract more customers.

Passengers were provided a main dish and a side dish at certain times of the day.

However, recently, two railway companies that jointly operate trains from HCM City to Hà Nội have had to cut the free meals due to the vast mountains of leftovers.

According to Saigon Railways and Hanoi Railways, although the trains travel 1,726 kilometres between the two Vietnamese cities, most passengers only buy tickets for short distances and have little demand for in-train meals.

In addition, many passengers do not touch the last meal served on the 35-hour train, as it’s available shortly before arrival in Hà Nội, where passengers can have their pick of delectable street food.

So this freebies probably cost VNR quite a bit with nothing to show for it, proving that you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it eat on a train. — VNS

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