Transport feels strain as festival return begins

By Xin Dingding (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-02-24 10:07

The country's transport system was working at full steam Friday as people began ending their Spring Festival holidays and returning to major cities.

The railway network was expected to carry a record 4.5 million passengers Friday, an increase of 160,000 people on last year.

The railway bureaus in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Nanchang have all added additional passenger trains to cope with the increased traffic flow.

Nanchang railway bureau added 73 additional trains on Friday to transport 300,000 people. It added 45 and 66 additional trains respectively on Wednesday and Thursday.

The number of passengers leaving railway stations in Nanchang, Chengdu, Chongqing and Wuhan has increased sharply since Thursday, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Meanwhile, big cities are preparing for the returning passengers.

Beijing was expected to receive 500,000 passengers on Friday night. The city's public transportation department has extended the operation hours of 19 bus routes until midnight to aid arrivals.

Guangzhou railway station was expected to receive 150,000 passengers on Friday. The station has opened five channels to allow passengers to exit the station, with an estimated 670 people leaving every minute.

Road transportation was also experiencing a seasonal peak yesterday.

The Ministry of Communications said in a news release that nearly 49 million passengers traveled by bus yesterday, an increase of 10 percent on the same period last year.

On Thursday, 650,000 buses carried about 33 million people across the country.

The ministry said migrant workers had left home as early as Tuesday, the third day of the Lunar New Year, to seek jobs in coastal provinces such as Guangdong, Fujian and Zhejiang.

The migrants are mainly from Anhui, Jiangxi, Hunan, Hubei and Sichuan provinces. The bus stations of cities in Guangdong Province have all reported increasing passenger flow.

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