Passenger numbers rise on last day of Spring Festival holiday

08:50, February 09, 2011      

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Passengers wait at Jinan railway station in Jinan City of east China's Shandong Province, Feb. 8, 2011. It is estimated that the first Post-Spring Festival traffic peak has started and the railway stations all over the country have taken measures to regulate the passenger flow. (Xinhua/Guo Xulei)

As the Chinese Lunar New Year hoilday ended Tuesday, waves of Chinese residents began their journey back to work, as they boarded trains, airplanes and buses.

The China Meteorological Administration announced Tuesday that a cold front would cause temperatures to fall by 4 to 12 degrees Celsius in most parts of the country, while some areas in the northwest, north and southwest will see rainfall or snow from Wednesday to Friday.

Fleets of motorbikes carrying thousands of migrant workers passed through national roads again on Tuesday.

The Ministry of Public Security said it set up 8,300 service stations along the country's major highways to provide free food, medicine, and rest stops for motor-riding migrant workers. The stations also sent police cars to clear the way for large groups of motorists.

Chen Tianchong, a migrant worker from Muge County, Guigang City of southwest China' s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and 38 of his fellow migrant worker started their journey on motorcycles at 4:30 a.m. on the foggy National Road 324, which is a 2,712-kilometer road linking five provinces of Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou and Yunan in southern China.

A motorcycle usually carried two people, often a couple, sometimes with a child sandwiched in between. They would wrap themselves in thick outerwear to battle the cold weather at night. Limited access to cheap public transportation had forced many migrant workers to make their trips home on their own.

"I promised my boss that I would go back to the factory in Guangdong before Wednesday," said Chen.

Chen said that they might arrive at Dali County, Shunde City of south China's Guangdong Province around eleven at night, after more than 18 hours riding a motorcycle from their hometown. By this way, each family may save more than 1,000 yuan - half of their monthly income.

Zhong Fei, another migrant worker also from Guangxi, chose this way home during the Spring Festival for the past three years. Zhong told Xinhua that earning money for his family was the most important thing and the exhausting trip was nothing.

From Guangdong alone, one of China's manufacturing bases, over 100,000 migrant workers left for home on motorbikes, said the local police. The Spring Festival travel rush started in China in the late 1980s, when millions of farmers from inland China moved to coastal cities to work.

In spite the increasing popularity of motor cycles, the majority of Chinese travelers still prefer trains or buses. Shandong province embraced the post-holiday passenger rush Tuesday, with railway stations witnessing 200,000 passengers in a single day.

Highway toll booths near Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and other big cities in China have become clogged.

Passengers are also snapping up airplane tickets. China Southern Airlines had increased flights from 30 to 70 flights per day.

Official forecasts indicate that this year's Spring Festival holiday may see a record 2.85 billion passenger trips nationwide, as Chinese workers return home from across the country for family reunions and go back to work after the holidays.

Source: Xinhua
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