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Safe travel over Spring Festival a priority

(China Daily)

08:31, January 18, 2013

Two migrant workers from Chongqing wait for a train home along with other passengers at a crowded railway station in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, on Tuesday. (China Daily/Li Zhong)

The Ministry of Transport has pledged to ensure travelers will enjoy safe and convenient journeys during the coming Spring Festival travel peak, a ministry spokesman said on Thursday.

"We will spare no efforts to guarantee the safety of passengers," He Jianzhong, who is also director of the ministry's policy and statute department, said at a news conference.

"The ministry has recently issued three directives to arrange and coordinate transport work during the travel peak of this Spring Festival, and six teams led by the minister or vice-ministers will start to inspect safety measures taken by local authorities from this Sunday."

Chinese tradition holds that people should return home and spend Spring Festival, otherwise known as Chinese New Year, with their families, leading to an annual travel rush that is the largest human migration in the world.

According to People's Daily, Chinese travelers made nearly 2.9 billion trips during the 2012 travel peak.

This year's peak period starts on Jan 26 and ends on March 6, and more than 3.1 billion trips will be made in cars or buses, averaging 77.41 million per day, 9 percent more than last year, according to the ministry's forecast. Meanwhile, about 43 million trips are expected to take place on ships during the 40-day period, a 1.5-percent increase year-on-year.

Transport departments around the country will allocate 840,000 buses and 13,000 passenger ships for the travel peak, He said.

Compared with the travel peak in 2012, this year will see more short or medium-distance journeys on the roads and a larger movement of migrant workers. In addition, there will be a surge in trips made by rural residents, the spokesman added.

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