BEIJING — The 40-day Spring Festival travel rush, which started Jan 13 this year, witnessed 357 million train trips in 2017, official data showed on Feb 22.
The record-breaking figure represents an increase of 10.1 percent from the same period in 2016, according to the China Railway Corporation (CRC).
A daily average of 8.93 million people traveled by train during the period, known as the largest human migration on earth.
A single-day record of 10.96 million trips was registered on Feb 2 as the end of the weeklong lunar new year holiday saw people return to work in cities far from their hometowns.
Trips made via bullet trains rose by 23.5 percent to reach 180 million, making it the first choice of railway passengers for the first time, CRC data showed.
China’s transport system is often put to the test during the annual travel rush around the Spring Festival. The period is called “chunyun,” which literally means “Spring Festival transport.”
During Spring Festival, which fell on Jan 28 this year, hundreds of millions of Chinese went back to their hometowns to celebrate the most important holiday of the year with their families.
To facilitate travel, China has stepped up construction of high-speed railways, aiming to have more than 80 percent of big cities included in a 30,000-kilometer network of high-speed tracks by the year 2020.
In the meantime, railway services are improving. More than 70 percent of this year’s train tickets were sold online, sparing the wait in line at train stations.
The trains also scored high in punctuality — 98.8 percent departed on time and 92.4 percent arrived on time during this year’s chunyun, CRC said.
Chinese people were expected to make just shy of 3 billion trips via all modes of transportation during this year’s chunyun, according to an earlier forecast by the Ministry of Transport.