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Roads, trains and planes to be crowded during holiday

Traffic volume on expressways tipped to be about 80 percent more than usual

By Luo Wangshu | China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-30 08:38
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With China expected to see 270 million passenger trips during this week's five-day May Day holiday, more than during the same period last year or in 2019 — before the COVID-19 pandemic — transport service providers are preparing for the surge in traffic.

There will be a significant increase in travel volume during the holiday, with 80 percent more self-driving trips, Guo Sheng, deputy head of the Ministry of Transport's Highway Bureau, said at a news conference in Beijing on Monday.

It is expected that the daily traffic volume on national expressways during the holiday will be about 63.5 million vehicle trips, 1.8 times the usual daily volume, he said, noting that the peak traffic volume is projected to reach 67 million vehicle trips.

The daily volume of commercial passenger transport is expected to reach 57 million trips, exceeding the number from last year and reaching 90 percent of the level in 2019. The number of passenger trips on trains and planes will surpass the level in 2019, Guo said.

"To ensure smooth traffic flow on roads, no highway maintenance work will be scheduled during the holiday to ease congestion. If necessary, nighttime or rapid construction methods will be utilized," Guo said, adding that all toll booths will be open. More mobile restrooms and charging facilities will be set up at freeway service areas with high traffic flows, reducing congestion and long queues, he said.

A rapid response procedure for minor traffic accidents has been activated. Transport departments will collaborate with public security and other departments to develop policies for the swift handling of minor accidents and simplified compensation procedures, Guo said.

China State Railway Group, the national railway operator, said the railway network is expected to see 144 million passenger trips during the eight-day travel rush, which kicked off on Monday, with an average of 18 million trips a day. Wednesday is projected to be the peak day for passenger flow, with an estimated 21 million passenger trips expected.

More train services have been added to cater to passenger needs, with an average of 12,000 passenger trains operating every day, an increase of more than 1,800 train services compared to regular days.

Measures such as adding more high-speed sleeper trains, coupling multiple trains and attaching additional carriages to conventional passenger trains have been taken to promptly augment capacity in popular regions and routes, the group said.

The 12306 ticket booking platform will be used to monitor holiday passenger flow, giving service providers the flexibility to introduce more temporary passenger trains to meet demand.

Passengers who fail to buy train tickets can join a waiting list on the 12306 system, with more temporary trains to be added based on the waiting lists.

Hou Qingjuan, a woman from Shandong who works in Beijing, said seven to eight additional train services have been added every day during the holiday between Beijing and her home in Liaocheng, Shandong.

"The temporary trains leave or arrive late at night or early in the morning; bad time slots. If I don't mind the time slots, I can always secure a ticket," she said, adding that she submitted an application on the waiting list in order to get a ticket at a better time.

Hou said that during off-peak times, there are about 17 to 18 train services running between Beijing and Liaocheng every day, while during the holiday rush there will be at least 25.

Airports are also expected to become busier during the holiday. Beijing Daxing International Airport is expected to see 661,700 passenger trips from Wednesday to Sunday, an average of 132,300 trips a day.

The daily outbound and inbound passenger volume to and from other countries and regions at Daxing Airport will exceed 14,000 trips, according to Li Xin from the immigration and border control checkpoint at the airport.

International routes to neighboring countries and regions will be popular during the holiday, according to Pan Xiaofang from the civil aviation department at the airport.

According to the airport, countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam are set to be popular destinations.

Airline companies are also adding more international routes. Recently, China Southern Airlines launched a new route from Daxing to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, while China Eastern Airlines has resumed flights from Daxing to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. China United Airlines plans to open international routes from Daxing to Russia, Japan and South Korea.

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