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Attention given to holiday traffic
( 2003-12-03 00:44) (China Daily)

The country's transportation authorities are gearing up to address a major traffic rush predicted for the approaching Spring Festival period.

The Chinese Lunar New Year -- a time for family reunions, will fall on January 22 next year.

The annual Spring Festival transportation season is expected to start on January 7, 15 days before the traditional festival, and it's predicted to last for 40 days, ending on February 15.

Transport authorities estimated that, in the coming Spring Festival period, as much as 1.89 billion passenger trips are expected to be taken by railway, road and air during the period. This figure is up 3 per cent from the same period in the previous year.

Travellers mostly consist of students on holiday, migrant workers, some professionals and tourists.

As a major means of transportation for travellers, railways are expected to account 137.5 million passenger trips during the 40-day period, Ministry of Railway estimated.

Civil aviation departments are also expecting some 10.5 million air passengers to travel during the period, according to a Xinhua report.

Sources from the Ministry of Railways said officials had laid out a programme to meet the demand of considerable numbers of railway passengers while guaranteeing freight transport.

Passenger flows have been predicted and temporary passenger trains will be added on particular routes, according to Railways Vice-Minister Hu Yadong.

In the meantime, railway bureaus have been encouraged to work out contingency plans to deal with any possible emergent situations during that period, he added.

To alleviate pressure on railway operations in peak periods,ticket prices will be floated, up 15 per cent for hard seats and 20 per cent for berths, sources from the Beijing Railway Bureau said.

The period of the surge in ticket prices will come between the January 14-20 and January 25 to February 7 slots, the two periods before and after the Spring Festival, they said.

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