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Nation to see travel rush, again


09:19, February 15, 2013

China's transport system is being put to the test, as the world's largest annual human migration comes to a peak with the Spring Festival holiday wrapping up.

More than 6.5 million trips were made on Chinese railways on Thursday, with more passengers expected to flood railway stations on Friday, which will witness the first rush of people returning to work after the seven-day Spring Festival holiday, the Ministry of Railways said.

A total of 4,550 train services were operating on Wednesday, completing nearly 5.8 million trips for passengers, the ministry said, adding that 629 temporary, extra train trips would be made on Thursday to help handle the surge in travelers.

Also on Wednesday, nearly 50 million trips were made in private cars and buses, the Ministry of Transport said, noting about 987,800 passengers traveled through 7,291 flights on the day.

From Thursday to Saturday, major expressways will witness a rapid increase in private cars and congestion is expected on Friday, the last day of the toll-free period for this Spring Festival holiday, according to traffic management officers with the Ministry of Public Security.

Most of the country's expressways are toll free during four national holidays, such as National Day and Spring Festival, for passenger cars with fewer than seven seats.

Chinese tradition holds that people should return home and spend Spring Festival, the most important Chinese holiday, with their families, which creates an annual travel rush that is the world's largest recurrent human migration.

Most office workers will have returned to cities where they work before Saturday, when most employers begin to reopen.

Highways in the Chinese capital of Beijing handled more than 1.2 million trips on Thursday, a 50 percent increase compared with the same period last year, the municipal commission of transport said, forecasting the busiest traffic of the seven-day holiday will appear on Friday.

More than 184,000 passengers arrived on Thursday at the Beijing West Railway Station and Beijing Railway Station, the two busiest stations in the city, local railway authorities said.

About 300,000 passengers will return to Beijing on Friday, they added.

The transport department in Shanghai began to operate 28 overnight bus routes on Wednesday to alleviate the heavy traffic surrounding railway stations and airports. It has also allocated 15 buses at transport pivots to respond to possible emergencies.

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