As China gears up for the 40-day national migration that comes with the Chinese New Year, railway tickets for the famously competitive Chunyun period went on sale on Jan 3.
Much of that ticket buying is done online now, and that’s only one part of the reason why the pressure may ease up this.
On the first day that those hard-to-get tickets went on sale, Wang Yinhua had no trouble securing the routes he wanted. Wang had established himself as the ticket-master for rush routes, but with better data at hand this New Year, he said he might eventually be out of a job.
Wang, also the chief engineer of Qihoo 360 ticket service, told CGTN that, “Fewer people need the service now, fewer every year.”
He said it’s largely thanks to fast developing online services, and the expanding railway network.
Wang said that, “We’ve seen railway capacity double in the last five years. And with high-speed trains getting faster and expanding, cutting down on commute times, it’s much easier to meet demand.”
But he shouldn’t let his guard down too soon, as there are still busy routes and dates that need looking out for.
Throughout the Chunyun period, Guangzhou in South China is expected to be the busiest place in the whole country.
The routes between Guangzhou and middle China’s Jiangxi and Hubei provinces are expected to be the most congested ones. As for Beijing, it’s easy to get a ticket in first week of January, but traffic will not stay light for much longer.
The capital is expected to empty out in the two or three days before the actual Spring Festival. So ticket-snatching, if there is one this year, will be two weeks from Jan 3.
A Shenyang native who worked in Beijing’s CBD area told CGTN “I’m still afraid that I won’t get a ticket on the day ... given how many have been competing for the tickets to Shenyang in the past few years. But I can work it out changing the date of departure.”
China Railway Corporation officials said that they will be able to handle 30 million more trips this year, on top of the 350 million that were taken in this period in 2017.
So maybe passengers this year can hang back - but only just a little.