China’s transport system is set to see a rise in passenger numbers, as millions of people prepare to return to work after the week-long Lunar New Year holiday.
The seven-day holiday draws to a close on Feb 2, the sixth day of the first month of the lunar calendar. Hundreds of millions of people returned to their hometowns to reunite with family and friends over the past week, for what is the most important festival for Chinese people.
The China Railway Corporation estimates nearly 10 million trips were made by train on Feb 1, an increase of nine percent year-on-year. China’s national railway operator has put 600 extra trains in service to better cope with the increasing amount of travelers.
Major highways, which are toll-free during the holiday, saw a surge as well. Transport authorities say 11 percent more people traveled on Feb 1 than compared to a year ago, leading to rising congestion on expressways around major cities.
Beijing Capital International Airport is expected to receive nearly 270,000 trips on Feb 2, higher than the average 240,000 trips made during the peak period before Spring Festival.
Transport was interrupted by snow in eastern and central China. Fortunately, no major traffic accidents have been reported so far.
Besides office workers returning to work, tourists are a major contributor to the traveling crowds.
Data from the China National Tourism Administration showed some 27.4 million visitor trips were made in China on Feb 1 alone, up 14.1 percent year on year. Tourism revenue reached 34 billion yuan (about $4.96 billion) on the same day.
“This round of traveling peak is expected to end around Feb 4, but another peak is predicted around Feb 6, as more and more students and migrant workers will come back,” the City Express newspaper quoted a railway department staff as saying.