China’s annual Spring Festival travel rush begins

World Today

China’s Spring Festival travel rush is officially underway. Authorities said they expect almost 3 billion trips in the coming 40 days – and the country is ready for it.

CGTN’s Wu Guoxiu reports.

Traveling around China during Spring Festival is never easy.

Just like last year, millions are expected to criss-cross the country during the holiday. Authorities said the nation’s transport networks are now more capable of handling the volume, but challenges remain.

“There will be enormous pressure after the Festival,” Lian Weiliang, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission said.

“Because of the late festival date this year, there will be overlapping passenger flows of family visitors, tourists, students, and migrant workers. We estimate the maximum daily peak will be 100 million journeys. Road traffic will be under pressure. Last year, there was a 14 percent year-on-year growth of private cars on highways. It will be more challenging to secure smooth and safe road traffic.”

There were 217 million motor vehicles in China at the end of last year. Four out of five were privately-owned.

But authorities said that, for the first time, there will be fewer road trips this year – by about 1.6 percent. That’s because people are choosing mass transport like trains or flights. The government is also worked on making tickets easier to get, particularly for trains.

“We added temporary trains to carry 1.5 million more passengers a day,” Li Wenxin, deputy general manager of China Railway Corporation said. “We’ve added high-speed overnight trains. We’re making full use of new railways.”

“But,” Li explained, “railways can’t fully meet passenger demand. We can only allow 390 million of the total 2.98 billion trips expected this year.

Train stations are mobbed every spring festival. This year, people are expected to make 8.8 percent more trips on trains, and 10 percent more on planes. They are demanding safer, more decent, and comfortable trips as they head home or travel elsewhere for the Chinese new year.

David Becker discusses Chinese Spring Festival travel

The countdown has started for this year’s Spring Festival, and people across China are packing and planning their trips home. Hundreds of millions of Chinese expected to travel over the next few weeks, taking part in this biggest human migration on earth. David Becker, CEO of Attract China, discusses with CGTN’s Elaine Reyes.