China expects 560m road trips for Golden Week

BEIJING • China expects 560 million road trips to be made during the National Day holiday, or Golden Week, according to the Ministry of Transport.

The holiday, which coincides this year with the Mid-Autumn Festival, will run from Oct 1 to 8, one day more than usual.

As a result, traffic on the highways is forecast to rise by 10 per cent over last year, ministry spokesman Wu Chungeng said on Thursday.

"We're expecting an average of 70.2 million road trips a day over the eight days," the spokesman said, adding that an estimated 15.9 million trips will also be made by water - up by 5 per cent year-on-year.

Travel peaks will be at the beginning and end of the holiday week.

People will do more long-distance travelling on the first two days, bringing a dramatic rise in passenger flows in big and middle-sized cities. And as Golden Week comes to an end, many major cities will face great pressure from the huge number of returning passengers.

According to an analysis by the ministry, traffic jams are likely to occur on highways around popular tourist attractions as many people would be driving.

To ensure sufficient services for tourists, the transport authorities will put more than 840,000 mass transit vehicles with a total of more than 21.4 million seats into operation, the spokesman said.

"We will relieve the congestion near the areas in greatest demand, such as hot tourist destinations, by adding different sorts of vehicles, including regular buses, chartered buses and sightseeing buses."

The transportation authorities in 25 provinces have created a unified system for passengers to book bus tickets. The official WeChat account of the Transport Ministry is also equipped for ticket purchases.

Langzhong Ancient City, one of the most famous cultural cities in Sichuan province, has requested its service providers to conduct maintenance checks on existing equipment and remove hidden safety risks as tourists start flocking to the city.

It will also utilise mobile technology to accelerate the entry of tourists at attractions, including offering enough QR codes at entrances for people to scan on their smartphones.

CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 23, 2017, with the headline 'China expects 560m road trips for Golden Week'. Print Edition | Subscribe