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Planes, trains and cars: rush inspires elaborate journeys

By Wang Ying in Shanghai | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2013-02-04 15:50

Travelers who failed to get a train ticket home for Spring Festival are being advised to consider alternative solutions that combine various methods of transportation.

Qiu Hui, director of flight product at qunar.com, a Chinese travel search platform, said combining train and air travel can save money.

"For example, if a person comes from Huhhot in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region and works in Chengdu in Sichuan province, the direct flight from Chengdu to Huhhot will cost around 1,400 yuan ($220), but if he flies to Beijing first and takes a six hour high-speed train home, he will save about 800 yuan," Qiu said.

Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines is also advertising a combination air and train products for passengers who have failed to buy a direct train ticket home.

"The carrier will book and pay for the high-speed train ticket if passengers fly with China Eastern to go to cities neighboring Shanghai or Wuhan," said Zhang Chi, a senior marketing development manager at China Eastern.

Hunan native Chen Fengmi, 30, who works at a private company in Shanghai, said he does not want to wait in line for hours for a train ticket, nor will he learn how to use the "ticket-grabbing" software to book a train ticket.

"I used to line up for half a day before being told the tickets were all sold," Chen said. "And to buy the ticket online seems as difficult as lining up in front of the train ticket office to me," he added.

Chen has found a solution: come together with other travelers to share car journeys home.

The 40-day 2013 Spring Festival travel rush started on Jan 26 and will peak on Feb 9

"From Feb 2 to Feb 7, about 50 cars will team up to head home," said Chen.

He said to keep the journey safe, five cars will travel together and choose a team leader.

"It takes about 12 to 13 hours to reach Changsha (capital of Hunan province), and after that, we will take a bus to our destinations," Chen said.

Compared with lining up for a long time to buy train tickets or booking a more expensive air ticket, Chen said sharing a car with four or five others is fun, economical and time saving.

This is not the first time Chen has carpooled over Spring Festival.

According to Chen, each of them spent less than 300 yuan and took 13 hours to get home. A train ticket costs 300 yuan, and the journey takes 15 hours.

wang_ying@chinadaily.com.cn

 

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