China mobilizes more transport resources

Updated: 2012-01-21 20:16


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BEIJING - As the Chinese Spring Festival travel rush enters its peak period, more work staff and transport resources have been deployed to ensure safe and convenient transport during the world's largest annual human migration.

At 8 am on January 20, two days ahead of the Chinese New Year, Dong Leihong, duty officer at the road network center with the Ministry of Transport (MOT), sat before a huge monitoring screen that displayed real-time highway transport conditions nationwide.

"Good news! The fog has almost all lifted. Only some local lines in Shanxi province have been blocked by snow. Road transport in the country's other regions is normal," Dong said.

The screen showed that some work staff at local toll stations in Shanxi were clearing away the snow, while vehicles were running smoothly despite rain on a section of the Shanghai-Kunming Highway located in eastern Jiangxi province.

About 840,000 passenger cars were put into service to meet the day's road travel demand, MOT Spokesman He Jianzhong said at the center. An estimated 82.9 million passenger trips by bus were recorded that day, an increase of 10.8 percent from a year earlier.

Passenger trips are expected to rise 9.1 percent year-on-year to hit 3.16 billion during this year's festival travel period, prompting the country's transport system to mobilize more resources.

Moreover, the railway, aviation and public security sectors have also adopted multiple measures to embrace the heat of the ongoing 40-day travel rush that started on January 8.

At Beijing Railway Station's control center, where the exact information of the location and speed of an operating train as well as train failures is available, more than 80 dispatchers were hired to coordinate the operations of passenger and cargo trains running in north China.

Meanwhile, large numbers of police, railway workers and volunteers worked in the whipping winter wind to help with boarding at Beijing West Railway Station.

The country required all train ticket buyers to register with their names and have their ID cards checked prior to boarding, a real-name system introduced to stem ticket scalping that has plagued the Spring Festival travel rush for years.

Counters dealing with domestic flights also extended service hours at the Beijing Capital International Airport, and more staff members were on site to help with security checks, said Li Guanghui, the airport's general manager.

The airport saw about 140,000 departure passengers on January 20, an increase of 29 percent from a year earlier, according to Li.

To help road travellers deal with emergencies, the Ministry of Public Security established 8,300 service stations nationwide to provide car repair, medical care, rest and guidance services.

Some local transport departments also prepared drinking water, food, and cotton clothes to ensure supplies in case of traffic jams on highways.

The local traffic police department in Zhaoqing, a city in southern China's Guangdong province, set up 17 rest stops for long-distance motorcyclists at several national highways that pass through the city.

The move aims to provide food and other emergency services for the 20,000 people that travel by motorcycle on these highways each day during the festival travel rush.

The Spring Festival, or "Chunjie" in Chinese, is a time for family reunions. It is the country's most important festival.