I think some of us in this thread underestimate the Chinese economy. A good proportion of the Chinese are affluent and they can afford to use, and they do use the high speed rail system. Shanghai-Beijing route is just few hours by high speed rail and a great convenience. In addition, the way they moderate traffic in cities by heavily subsidizing buses (city bus ride in Beijing cost only 2 yuan) help them save a lot of gas and road space, and very helpful for the low income. We, in the US, have the idea that everything must be privatized and must run for a profit. Certain things just dont work like that.