[photopress:spring_festival_travel.jpg,full,alignright]China’s highways carried 227 million passengers during the past Spring Festival holiday week which probably sets some sort of world record. The fact that the transport system did not totally collapses — compare with Britain when it snows or Sydney in Australia where the arrival of the Queen Mary II brought the city to a total standstill — says much for the Chinese infrastructure.
The number of travelers rose 11.6% from the same period of last year, with the passenger flow exceeding 50 million per day on Friday and Saturday. As in two and a half time the population of Australia traveling at the same time. Or on Sunday when it peaked at 62.8 million passengers, 23% up year on year.
The highway division of the ministry said a major part of the passenger flow came from rural migrant workers traveling from inland provinces like Henan, Jiangxi, Sichuan and Anhui to Beijing, Tianjin and major cities in the booming eastern and southern coastal regions.
The government has made 24-hour highway traffic information available on the Internet and provided weather forecast for highway travelers.
Meanwhile, latest official figures show tourist areas around the country received 92.2 million visitors in the holiday week, 17.7% more than the same period of last year.
Tourism brought the country RMB43.8 billion ($5.48 billion) of revenues in the holiday, 19 percent up year on year.
According to the Ministry of Railways during the holiday, the daily average passenger flow on railways hit a record high, reaching 3.75 million in one day.
In the period, 5 million passengers traveled by water, 6 percent up year on year, while the country’s airlines carried 3.71 million passengers, a surge of 21%.
In one sense it is wonderful that the Chinese transport infrastructure managed to survive. In another, it is plainly daft that a whole country comes to a standstill and jams all transportation for such a brief period. Despite every tradition that fights against it inevitably Chinese New Year will have to become a movable feast. Perhaps extending over a longer period. (That would be traditionally acceptable.) Perhaps taking place in different provinces at different times.
Source: English EastDay