China gears up for Spring Festival travel rush

BEIJING (Xinhua) – China’s transport authorities are busy getting ready for the Spring Festival travel rush starting today, with three billion trips expected to be made.

From January 21 to March 1, total trips are expected to rise 0.6 per cent compared with the travel rush last year, with an 8.3-per cent increase in railway trips and 12-per cent hike in air trips.

To deal with the air traffic pressure, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has planned to expand domestic flights in 10 large airports including Shanghai Pudong International Airport, according to Dong Zhiyi, deputy head of the CAAC.

At the same time, the aviation authority plans to schedule 532,000 flights during the travel rush, an increase of 10 per cent year on year.

To enhance railway transportation capability, a total of 4,787 and 4,860 two-way train services will be scheduled daily before and after the festival respectively, up 5.4 per cent and 5.2 per cent compared with the same period last year, according to Lian Weiliang, Deputy Head of the National Development and Reform Commission.

To increase efficiency, some railway stations will pioneer “ticketless travel”. Instead of buying tickets online and collecting them at the stations, travelers can pass ticket checks by scanning QR codes using their phones and pay afterwards.

Hundreds of millions of Chinese return to their hometowns every year during the Chinese Lunar New Year to get together with their families.

The Chinese Lunar New Year will begin on February 5, 2019.

High speed trains wait for maintenance in Guiyang, capital of southwest China’s Guizhou Province. – XINHUA