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China Starts Spring Festival Travel Season with Billions of Travelers

01-09 11:48 Caijing
China started its 40-day long Spring Festival peak travel season, or the Chunyun period, on Sunday with tens of millions of passengers on the move in the world’s largest seasonal migration.

China started its 40-day long Spring Festival peak travel season, or the Chunyun period, on Sunday with tens of millions of passengers on the move in the world’s largest seasonal migration.

The number of passenger trips on trains, planes, boats and buses will reach 3.2 billion during the travel rush, up 9.1 percent from last year, Deputy Director of the National Development and Reform Committee (NDRC) told a news conference Sunday.

The country’s railway network is expected to carry a historical 235 million of passengers during this year’s peak season, or 5.88 million passengers each day, according to vice railway minister Hu Yadong at the same conference, a gathering of top officials from various transportation ministries.

The railway ministry, for the first time in history, opens an online access to tickets buyers this year at its official website www.12306.cn. The online train ticket system has been busy dealing with huge demand recently, with more than 1 billion hits daily from January 1-7, said Hu.

Thanks to the national online ticketing system and hotlines opened in the middle of last year, an average of 2 million train tickets were sold in each of the past few days, Hu said.

“It is good to see that one-third of passengers no longer need to queue up for hours at trains stations or ticket agencies,” he said.

The railway ministry bears the most grumbles from the public over its poor services and inaction, even collaboration in the crackdown of ticket dealers.

The website, however, failed to function at times due to huge visits that exceed its capacity. Usually a successful online purchase needs continuously refresh of the pages for even hours.

Migrant workers, who contribute a major force of the travelers, feel even more frustrated than ever before since most of them have no access to the Internet or do not know how to use Internet.

Also from this year, travelers have to submit their identity card numbers online or show their ID cards at stations when buying tickets, a blow to ticket-dealers since every ID card could buy only one ticket with the ID card owner’s name on it.

The seasonal period will end on February 16, 25 days after the Chinese New Year.

More than 30 million of staffs and workers as well as soldiers will work through the New Year holiday to secure a smooth migration of travelers across the most populated county.

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