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Rush to travel back home begins in earnest

[ 2009-01-12 14:00]     字号 [] [] []  
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The largest movement of people in the world started in earnest over the weekend with big groups returning home for Spring Festival, which falls on January 26.

This Chinese Lunar New Year about 2.32 billion trips will be made in 40 days, or 3.5 percent more than in 2008, and put the public transport system to the test until February 19, said the National Development and Reform Commission.

A record 188 million people are likely to travel by trains, the main choice for long-distance journeys, the Ministry of Railways said on Saturday. That would be 8 percent more than last year.

About 24.2 million passengers, or 12 percent more than last year, will fly to their destinations, with the rest of the travelers making about 2 billion trips on the road.

The Ministry of Railways expects the number of pre-festival travelers to peak between January 20 and 24, while the January 30-February 4 and February 10-14 periods would see the highest number of trips after the holiday.

The early rush of people returning home this year has surprised the ministry.

The railways carried 4.5 million passengers on Saturday and an estimated 4.7 million yesterday, said Zhang Zhenli, a railway official in charge of transport during Spring Festival.

Railway bureaus in major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou added 319 temporary express trains yesterday to deal with the travel rush.

"Seats have replaced sleepers in the temporary trains so that they can carry more passengers," Wang Yongping, ministry spokesman, said at a press conference on Saturday. That has increased the number of seats in a coach by 40 to 50.

But a lot of people are still finding it difficult to book a train ticket. And 67.8 percent of people feel scalpers are mainly to blame for that, Xinhuanet.com cited a survey as having said on January 7.

The ministry has promised to deal strictly with scalpers and fire ticket-selling clerks who help them.

An example of what beefed-up security can do was seen in Guangzhou, where police busted a gang of fake ticket makers on January 7 and seized about 60,000 fake train tickets from them, the Guangzhou Daily reported yesterday.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Rush to travel back home begins in earnest

About the broadcaster:

Rush to travel back home begins in earnestBernice Chan is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Bernice has written for newspapers and magazines in Hong Kong and most recently worked as a broadcaster for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, producing current affairs shows and documentaries.