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Holidayers face hurdles in the homestretch

Peng Yining
Updated: Oct 7,2015 1:07 PM     chinadaily.com.cn

Millions of travelers are making their way home during the last two days of the week-long National Day holiday, which began on Oct 6.

According to the China Tourism Academy, more than 532 million domestic trips are expected to be made over the seven days.

Around 10.8 million railway passenger trips were made on Oct 5, and the number of travelers was expected to be higher on Oct 6 and Oct 7, according to the China Railway Corp, which scheduled an extra 315 trains on Oct 5 to meet the surge in demand.

As the two longest national holidays in China, the National Day holiday and the weeklong Spring Festival provide people with the opportunity to travel, but the traffic jams and crowds make trips during these holidays notoriously busy and stressful.

According to the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau, traffic heading back to the capital will continue to increase over the last two days of the holiday, and the traffic in the city is likely to peak in the afternoons and evenings around popular parks and other tourist spots.

Nanluoguxiang, a hutong, or alley, in eastern Beijing, that is a popular tourist attraction, has received more than 100,000 visitors a day during the holiday.

According to the bureau, the traffic peak will last for about four days after the holiday near the city’s railway stations and airport. The bureau also cautioned drivers via its website that the death toll in road traffic accidents during the National Day holiday had increased 7.8 percent on average each year over the past five years.

It said the surge in the number of people traveling is because the holiday was close to the Mid-Autumn Festival, which fell on Sept 27 this year, and because of the increasing number of people with their own cars. The number of private cars in China has increased by 17.52 million so far this year, which has put more pressure on the nation’s roads during the holiday period.

Traffic police in East China’s Jiangsu province said the home-coming traffic began around 9 am on Oct 6 and is expected to reach its peak on Oct 7 between 4 pm and 10 pm. During this period, it warned the roads will be extremely busy. Sun Yat-Sen’s Mausoleum in Nanjing, capital of the province, received 250,000 visitors on the second day of the holiday.

Traffic police in Wuhan, capital of central China’s Hubei province, suggested travelers leave the city in the afternoon and try to return in the morning to avoid congestion on the highways. According to Hubei’s tourism administration, nearly half a million people flowed into the province’s 25 major tourist spots on Oct 5, the fifth day of the holiday, and the traffic system will be under heavy pressure when they start to leave.

Hu Yue, a 38-year-old accountant in Guangzhou, Guandong province, said she took her daughter to a small lake in the suburbs during the holiday rather than making any longer trips so as not to waste the holiday caught in traffic.

“Don’t go to famous places, and don’t go far, unless you are traveling to places like South Africa,” she advised. “And avoid the peak travel dates.”

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