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Crowded Beijing relieved by holiday exodus


09:13, February 10, 2013


BEIJING, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- China's overcrowded capital saw its streets empty on Saturday, as mass numbers of people are leaving the metropolis to visit their relatives on the eve of the Spring Festival holiday.

The city, which has 20 million permanent residents together with millions of floating people, saw more than 9 million leave via railway stations, airports and long-distant coach terminals ahead of the weeklong holiday, according to the Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport.

Native Beijingers have subsequently been enjoying smooth traffic on the streets and relaxed journeys on buses and subways.

The commission said Friday that 5.5 million people had taken trains to leave the city since the Spring Festival travel rush started on Jan. 26.

Another 2.7 million outbound passengers had been recorded by the city's airports during the period. Long-distance bus stations tallied another 700,000 departures.

The amount of road travel may also be considerable, as passenger vehicles with seven seats or fewer are exempt from highway tolls for the first time ever during the Spring Festival holiday.

In addition to vacation travelers, most of the people leaving Beijing during festival are permanent Beijing residents who originally come from other areas of the country.

According to the municipal statistics bureau, the total number of these people accounts for 35.9 percent of the city's population, indicating that one out of every three Beijing residents migrated from outside of Beijing.

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