Spring Festival travel rush

Added On January 11, 2018

Spring Festival, or Chinese Lunar New Year, will fall on February 16th this year.  
As people make their way to family homes for the festival, the New Year travel rush, or Chunyun, is set to begin on February 1st.
But data shows that although billions of trips are expected to be made during the travel rush, Chunyun might not be the busiest season for rail transportation.
In 2018 Chunyun, or peak travel period, is set to last from February 1st until March 12th.
The Chinese government estimated that about 3 billion trips will be made on all kinds of transportation during the 40 day period.
As usual, railways are expected to be the top choice for majority of Chinese travellers.
To meet growing demand, railway tickets have been available for online reservation since last Wednesday for both normal and high-speed trains.
But data from the China Railway showed that Chunyun might not be the busiest season for the railways.
SOUNDBITE (CHINESE) HUANG XIN, Customer Service, China Railway
"In one year, there are two busiest season for rail transportation, namely the summer season during July and August, and the National Day holiday in October. On the National Day in 2017, the railway served 15 million passengers on a single day and we estimate that only 9 million passengers will take railway during the Chunyun period everyday in 2018."
Huang Xin, deputy director of China Railway's customer service said that as more high-speed railways are built in China, more and more people are going on short trips.
SOUNDBITE (CHINESE) HUANG XIN, Customer Service, China Railway
"The weekends always see a sharp rise of passenger flow. For the high-speed railway, the figure of passenger flow during weekends is quite different from other days."
The development of high-speed trains in China means that travel time between key cities has been dramatically cut, with the Beijing-Shanghai journey now lasting around 4 hours.