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|Wednesday, January 03, 2001, updated at 09:15(GMT+8)|
Price Hikes Announced on Buses, Planes, TrainsWith Spring Festival just around the corner, China's transportation ministries have announced a hike on train, plane and bus ticket prices.
The average ticket price is expected to soar by 20 to 30 per cent, while tickets to the most popular destinations could see 40 to 50-per cent price hikes.
The State Development Planning Commission has earmarked the period from January 9 to February 17 as the peak travel time for Spring Festival, which falls on January 24.
The commission predicts that some 1.66 billion passengers will travel during this time, a 2.7 per cent increase on last year.
Traditionally, Chinese people return home for family reunions at Spring Festival, putting heavy pressure on the nation's transport network.
The Ministry of Railways will add 6,000 trains for the peak period this year, but this is still expected to fall short of demand.
Officials with the ministry said they wanted to improve services through the extra price rise.
"We intend to renovate the inside of our trains before the travelling peak and employ more attendants to keep railway stations in order," said Liu Zhijun, vice-minister of railways.
He admitted that too many passengers almost paralyzed their services on popular routes last year.
Before and after the festival, passengers leaving major cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou will need to pay 20 to 30 per cent more for a train ticket than they did last year.Air passengers will also see a hike in prices during the peak period, up by 20 to 30 per cent on the current rate, and most airlines have announced they will provide more flights.
China's major airlines -- Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines -- are expected to put on 20 per cent more flights during the 40-day travel peak.
Most people are expected to take buses, and will see ticket price rises of less than 20 per cent. (China Daily)
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