China faces bigger travel rush during Spring Festival

The total volume of passengers taking trains and airplanes during the annual Spring Festival travel rush will rise by about 10 per cent year on year, according to a report by the Chinese authorities.
The total volume of passengers taking trains and airplanes during the annual Spring Festival travel rush will rise by about 10 per cent year on year, according to a report by the Chinese authorities.PHOTO: XINHUA

Nearly 3 billion trips expected, with bullet trains popular

BEIJING • The world's largest annual human migration, the Spring Festival travel rush, will be even larger this year.

The Chinese will make a total of 2.98 billion trips nationwide during the annual travel peak, known in Chinese as chun yun, from Jan 13 to Feb 21, up 2.2 per cent year on year, according to an official forecast.

A total of 12 per cent of trips will be made by railway, 84.6 per cent by road, 1.4 per cent by water and 2 per cent by air, according to a report by the National Intelligent Transport Systems Centre of Engineering and Technology in China, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Transport.

The total volume of passengers taking trains and airplanes will increase by about 10 per cent year on year, the report said.

The expected peaks are on Jan 25, three days before the first day of Chinese New Year, and on Feb 2, the final day of the national holiday period.

Before the festival, the most popular routes are those departing from big cities and arriving in suburban areas, mostly comprising migrant workers returning home. After the festival, the migration pattern will reverse, from medium-sized and small cities to big cities.

  • 2.98b Number of trips expected in China during the Chinese New Year travel peak this year, up 2.2 per cent.

    84.6% By road.

    12% By railway.

    2% By air.

    1.4% By water.

Bullet trains have become a popular choice, the report said, with the most popular rail lines including Shanghai-Hangzhou, Shenzhen- Guangzhou, Chongqing-Chengdu and Beijing-Shijiazhuang.

Ms Shen Peilan, who lives in Shanghai, has booked a high-speed train ticket from Beijing to Shanghai for Jan 26.

"I usually fly between Shanghai and Beijing, but I'm worried about the weather conditions this winter, and flights are hard to predict and likely to be cancelled or delayed," the 30-year-old said.

She added: "That is why I booked a bullet train ticket this time. It was not as hard to book a train ticket as many said it would be, but I guess that is because Beijing to Shanghai is not a popular Spring Festival travel rush route."

Mr Pang Jun, 30, from Hunan province, is not as lucky. He said: "I have to make three trips this Spring Festival: from Beijing to Jiangsu, to visit my girlfriend's parents; from Jiangsu to Hunan, to visit my parents; and from Hunan to Beijing. I will be more exhausted than when I'm working."

It is the first time Mr Pang will visit his girlfriend's home during Spring Festival. "It will be a double challenge in the future."

He and his girlfriend plan to take trains and airplanes. "By air is expensive, but fast. Train is our top choice, but all tickets from Beijing to Jiangsu province are sold out," he said, adding that they are holding on to the hope that they can snap up some return tickets.

CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 09, 2017, with the headline 'China faces bigger travel rush during Spring Festival'. Print Edition | Subscribe