An early Spring Festival rush has hit two of China's largest cities in the last few days as many migrant workers have changed their plans and are now heading home earlier. Local railway authorities have advised travelers to travel as early as possible to avoid the peak period.
The Beijing West Railway Station logged 130-thousand passengers departing on the first day of 2009. And the predicted peak for the Spring Festival rush has already been reached.
The holidays combined with days off during the weekend mean that Chinese people will have 14 days off work this month. Many people who plan to return home for the Lunar New Year are leaving earlier to take advantage of the break.
The railway authorities in the capital have added ticket offices, lengthened working hours, and arranged additional trains to cope with the passenger surge.
Long queues also appeared in front of the ticket booths in Guangzhou Railway Station, which has set up seven temporary ticket booths. Some passengers say they had to come in person because telephone bookings were sold out.
The Ministry of Railways says train stations across China expect to handle a record 188 million passengers, up 8 percent year on year.