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2.3b trips to be taken at Spring Festival
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08:58, December 11, 2008

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More people will be traveling during next year's Spring Festival than in previous years, the National Development and Reform Commission said yesterday.

The commission estimates the total number of journeys will be 2.32 billion, an increase of 3.5 percent compared to last year.

There will be about 188 million rail journeys, 2 billion road trips and 24 million air flights, it said.

The Lunar New Year starts on Jan 26, and the peak travel period will last 40 days beginning from Jan 11 to Feb 19.

Because of the short gap between Jan 1, the Western New Year, and the Spring Festival, college students, migrant workers and others, may choose to travel at the same time, putting great pressure on the national transportation network, the commission said.

It called on all transportation departments to be ready to meet the increased demand, especially in the deltas of the Yangtze River and Pearl River, which have huge migrant and student population.

The commission also urged local governments to be ready to deal with emergencies caused by low temperatures.

The weather forecast during the Spring Festival is that most of the country will experience normal temperatures for that time of year, but some regions may be hit by heavy snowstorms.

Last year, snowstorms hit the southern regions, stranding millions of travelers.

The Ministry of Railways published its seasonal timetable on Monday. Three hundred and nineteen more trains will be used during the Spring Festival period.

"The peak time will come early, and we are prepared, even for possible snowstorms," ministry spokesman, Wang Yongping, said.

Although many laid-off migrant workers have returned home as factories close down due to the economic crisis, it is still not easy to get a train ticket, especially in the major cities of Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai.

In Shanghai, the number of railway travelers heading to Chengdu, Chongqing and Guiyang, where most of migrant workers come from, has increased markedly since last week.

Source: China Daily

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