THE great Spring Festival move of China’s populace this week entered its peak period. With the start of the Chinese Lunar New Year a day away, transport authorities have mobilised all available resources to get passengers home safely and in time for the traditional family celebration.
Sources with the Ministry of Railways said fully loaded trains would carry 3.2 to 3.4 million passengers a day between Sunday and Thursday.
The spring travel season concludes on Feb 25, with peak travel periods falling immediately before and after the festival.
Since Jan 17, the first day of China’s peak travel season this year, a total of 38.4 million train journeys have been made, an average of 3.2 million per day, up 10.2% on last year.
The railway ministry activated an urgent transport plan on Monday to add 50 temporary passenger trains and halted the movement of some freight trains to free up tracks.
Special inspection teams headed by minister level officials from the ministry have been conducting shuttle inspections across the country to supervise the service and ticket sales.
Officials with the ministry said the railway would do their best to provide as many seats as possible in the run up to the Spring Festival, and warned passengers there was little choice, particularly when it comes to berths.
“The comfortable berth tickets are limited no matter how many trains we add, so passengers should be more flexible in choosing seats, especially as Spring Festival is just around the corner,” they said.
The rail sector also launched a nationwide campaign against ticket touting and fake tickets.
Since Jan 17, 4,561 touts have been arrested and 47 illegal ticket rings have been cracked.
On Sunday air transport also entered its peak phase, with 724 aeroplanes landing and taking off from the country’s largest airport, Beijing’s Capital International Airport.
Sources with the airport said between 7 and 9am and 1 to 4pm are the busiest times and urged passengers to do their best to avoid travelling then or clogging the airport by arriving too early for flights.
The roads are also witnessing a surge in traffic, and there has been a spate of fatal accidents in the past few days.
The Ministry of Public Security and Ministry of Communications released an urgent notice highlighting road transport safety.
On Tuesday, two buses crashed in Gansu Province, killing 13 and leaving 18 badly injured.
The same day, a bus collided with a lorry in Jilin Province, which left 18 dead and dozens injured. – China Daily
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