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Shanghai forecasts record rail travellers during Spring Festival
Updated: 2006-01-06 09:38

Shanghai forecasts rail travel records for Spring Festival

A record number of trains will be put into operation during the upcoming Spring Festival travel peak to deal with the annual surge of people heading home, the Shanghai Railway Administration said yesterday.

But even with the added equipment, passenger capacity may fall short as the number of travelers is also expected to hit a new high during the 40-day period.

The Spring Festival travel season usually begins 15 days prior to the Lunar New Year and ends 25 days after. It's traditionally a time when many Chinese, especially migrant workers and college students, use economical forms of travel such as trains to go home and spend the holiday with their families.

This year the travel period runs from January 14 to February 22.

The huge rush of passengers poses a big challenge to the country's transport system, especially in the big cities.

"We will try our best to deal with the travel rush and have developed emergency plans to make sure everyone can get on a train and go home," said the railway administration's Director Liu Lianqing.

The administration governs the rail systems serving not only Shanghai, but also neighboring Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Anhui provinces.

Rail stations under the agency's jurisdiction are expected to handle 24.8 million passengers, an increase of more than 1.5 million from the same period last year.

Some 5 million passengers are expected to travel through the Shanghai Railway Station, a year-on-year increase of 6.9 percent. Among them, 2.7 million are forecast to leave before the start of Lunar New Year on January 29, up 9 percent.

The administration plans to add a record 283 trains, 17 more than last year.

The additional trains will be used mostly on routes linking big cities, including Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen, and migrant worker source areas such as Anhui and Sichuan provinces.

The Shanghai Railway Station will add 110 new ticket windows to the existing 192 to facilitate purchases.

A "ticket supermarket" was also opened to the public yesterday at Putuo Indoor Stadium.

"It is more convenient to buy tickets, and it is cozy to wait inside," said Hai Xiuli, a migrant worker from Anhui Province, the first to buy a ticket at the stadium.

Railway officials also said tickets for most migrant workers won't be more expensive than usual as hard-seat trains are exempt from temporary price hikes affecting other services during the holiday.

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