Chinese railways brace post-festival travel rush

Updated: 2010-02-17 11:42
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BEIJING - China's Ministry of Railways (MOR) said Tuesday it was requiring local branches nationwide to be ready for the post-Spring Festival travel rush as rail passenger numbers usually rise sharply starting from the third day of the Lunar New Year.

Chinese railways brace post-festival travel rush
Passengers line up in front of the ticket office at Shenyang Railway station February 16, 2010. [Photo/Xinhua] 

The MOR said railways carried 3.5 million passengers Monday, up 54 percent from Sunday, the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year.

The Ministry said it has asked local rail authorities to optimize their transportation capacity and open additional services if necessary, especially at such busy rail stations as Chengdu, Chongqing, Wuhan, Hefei, Fuyang and Nanchang.

Rail passengers in Wuhan, Nanchang and Chengdu rose notably Tuesday in comparison with the same day last year, the ministry said.

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In the 17 days since January 30, when the annual Spring Festival travel peak season began, China's railways have transported 76.39 million passengers, a daily average of 4.49 million.

The travel peak season, or Chunyun (spring transportation), poses an annual test on the country's stretched rail network.

During the travel season from January 30 to March 10 this year, Chinese railways were expected to transport 210 million passengers, up 9.5 percent year on year, or 5.25 million passengers per day, according to the MOR.

The Spring Festival, also known as the Chinese Lunar New Year, is China's most important annual festival. It is an occasion for reunions of family members, relatives and friends.

Tuesday figures from the Ministry of Transport (MOT) showed that China's highways had transported 127 million passengers on February 13-16, up 10.8 percent year on year.

The MOT said short-trip travelers accounted for 85 percent of the total highway passengers, as residents' rising income on the back of the economic recovery leads to a tourism and travel boom.

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