GUANGZHOU, July 17 (Xinhua) -- On Monday, Liu Chengyin received lunch at his seat shortly after high-speed train G2904 left the southern city of Guangzhou.
The meal, which Liu ordered two hours before, was prepared by a restaurant at Guangzhou railway station.
"I can receive my meal as soon as I take my seat on the train," said Liu, who was traveling to Guilin. "I don't have to wait for the mobile dining cart or go to the dining car to eat."
As of Monday, 27 major railway stations across China, including Guangzhou, Shanghai, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Xi'an and Chengdu, launched a pilot on-demand food delivery service for high-speed trains passing through the stations.
Passengers should order on the official website or the China Railway app two hours before the train is scheduled to arrive at the station. They need to pay an additional delivery fee of 8 yuan (1.2 U.S. dollars).
No orders will be accepted within two hours of arrival as the few chosen restaurants at the stations need time to prepare and delivery also takes time.
If a train is canceled or delayed for more than 30 minutes, the order will be canceled and the passenger will receive a refund.
A total of 50 meals per train can be purchased by passengers.
On-demand food delivery is aimed at complementing meals offered by the railway operator, which often receive criticism for low quality and high prices.
Another passenger on G2904, who declined to be named, said that if the on-demand service offered more varieties of delicious and low-priced meals he would also order.
A third passenger, who gave only his surname Yang, said he was happy to hear the news of the service, but he dismissed the idea of trying it when he found that not many varieties were available.
On-demand food delivery services have been booming in China over the past few years with the fast-growing express delivery industry and more people embracing mobile phones and mobile payment.