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Chinese begin holiday travel rush

(Global Times)

08:22, January 09, 2012

Soldiers guard the entrance of the Beijing Railway Station on the first day of the Spring Festival travel rush Sunday. (Photo: Guo Yingguang/GT)

The Spring Festival peak travel season began yesterday in China. During the 40-day travel rush, the number of passenger trips is expected to reach 3.16 billion, up 9.1 percent from last year, according to official figures.

The task to complete the world's largest seasonal migration this year will be more challenging than before, as the passenger flow of students, migrant workers and others compounds this year, He Jianzhong, a spokesman with the Ministry of Transport (MOT) said at a press conference yesterday.

The chilly weather and possible extreme snowstorms forecasted by the meteorological authority will add to challenges and security risks, He noted.

Spring Festival, or Chinese Lunar New Year, falls on January 23 this year, and is the most important traditional Chinese festival for family reunions.

Railway administrators enjoyed a peak day of ticket sales yesterday as flocks of people queued at train stations to buy tickets sold 8 days in advance, and others struggled with the official online booking platform and phone reservations, through which one can buy tickets 12 days ahead.

Meanwhile, many Web users shared tips and tricks on how to obtain tickets online, but urged patience when logging onto the congested booking website.

"The new real name online booking system is truly convenient. We no longer need queue for hours at open air ticket stores in the cold," Ning Yating, an IT engineer in Beijing, told the Global Times.

"However, during the travel rush, it takes too long to log onto the system. I tried for hours to use both the website and telephone hotline to make reservations today, each time unsuccessful," Ning said.

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