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Train tickets in short supply

(China Daily)

08:54, January 28, 2013

Beijing Railway Station saw many drawn-out farewells on Sunday as the Spring Festival travel rush begins. Millions of people will leave the cities for their hometowns in the coming days. (China Daily/Zhu Xingxin)

Transport authorities have taken contingency measures to ensure the smooth movement of people during the world's largest annual migration that started on Saturday, but train tickets are still hard to get because of the gap between supply and demand.

Railway authorities will arrange 1,242 more trains every day on average during the 40-day peak travel season around the Lunar New Year holiday to meet the needs of an increasing number of migrant workers, the Ministry of Railways said on its website on Sunday.

A total of 4,516 passenger trains completed 5.2 million journeys on Saturday, the Ministry said. The ministry arranged 454 temporary trains on Sunday and predicted a total of 5.4 million passenger journeys will be handled.

A record 3.4 billion trips are expected to be made during this year's Lunar New Year travel rush, which lasts for 40 days from Jan 26 to March 6, as Chinese return home for family reunions during the Spring Festival holiday, the most important traditional Chinese holiday, which falls on Feb 10 this year.

The country's rail network is expected to handle 225 million trips, while long-distance buses will complete 3.1 billion passenger trips, which combine to account for 99 percent of the overall national capacity, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.

China's airlines adopted a similar approach by increasing the combined transport capacity to handle 35.5 million journeys, up 5.2 percent from the same period last year.

Transport authorities across China should improve contingency plans targeting bad weather such as extreme low temperature, fog and heavy snow, and transport enterprises are urged to intensify driver training to ensure safety, Feng Zhenglin, vice-minister of transport, said ahead of the peak travel season.

Chinese have traditionally favored road and train transportation, especially trains, for their safety and lower prices.

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