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在线翻译:
szdaily -> In depth -> 
Nation on the move
    2012-01-10  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

THE Spring Festival peak travel season kicked off in China on Sunday, with tens of millions of passengers, mainly migrant workers and college students, on the move in the world’s largest seasonal migration.

A majority of rural migrants take trains back home, as train services are much cheaper than other transport services. The homecoming is treasured as many can only go home once a year, while some only return once every several years.

At the railway station in Xining, capital of western Qinghai Province, migrant worker Luo Lirong raised her head periodically to look at the boarding notification board.

“After a whole year of hard work away from home, I can finally go back to see my child,” Luo said an hour ahead of her boarding time. “I cannot pretend that I am not in a hurry.”

The Spring Festival, or Chinese Lunar New Year, falls on Jan. 23 this year. It is the most important traditional Chinese festival for family reunions.

A total of 3.16 billion passenger trips are expected during the 40-day travel rush, known as “chunyun” (Spring transportation) in Chinese, up 9.1 percent from a year earlier, according to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

China’s railways alone will carry 235 million passengers during the period, the Ministry of Railways said Friday.

Liu Tienan, the NDRC’s vice chief, the country’s top economic planner, told the press Sunday that passenger transport during the period is not looking good as the enormous migration outweighs existing transportation capacities.

Liu warned of the likelihood of heavy snow and icy rain that could hamper travel while vowing greater efforts to avoid another travel disaster, as was seen in early 2008 when unprecedented heavy snow and freezing rain inundated the south of the country, bringing traffic to a standstill during the peak holiday season.

To better cope with the busiest traffic of the year, railway authorities, bus companies and airlines across the country are increasing transport capacity.

China’s civil aviation regulator said Sunday that it has given the green light for domestic airlines to add 14,000 flights to meet massive passenger flow.

Railway authorities have long been under pressure to increase capacity and improve ticketing services, as many citizens find it hard to secure tickets during major holidays.

About 4,100 trains are running each day during the Spring Festival travel rush this year, 260 more than a year earlier, according to Hu Yadong, vice minister of railways.

The Ministry of Railways began allowing customers to book all tickets online or by phone late last year in order to ease the ordeal of buying tickets.

During major holidays in the past, people would wait for hours in long lines before getting to the ticket sales windows, only to find that tickets were sold out. Many even had to pay extra to buy from ticket scalpers.

However, the new booking services are not as effective as expected. Many have complained that the ticket booking Web site often crashes under heavy traffic and the phone service cannot be easily reached, urging the ministry to improve the booking services.

The new services also drew criticism from rural migrant workers and senior citizens in cities, as many of them don’t use the Internet or have the online banking services needed to pay for the train tickets.

But there is also good news. Rampant ticket scalping is better curbed this year as the railway authorities introduced a real-name ticket purchasing system nationwide for the first time during this travel rush.

All passengers now have their ID cards checked before getting on trains to see if they buy tickets with the same ID.

“To better curb ticket scalping, strict check-ups when getting on trains are needed,” said Gu Hongqiong, a railway police officer in Shanghai.

“With the real-name system, there are few ticket scalpers,” said Li Chengxiao, who was lining up to buy a ticket at the Lhasa railway station in Tibet Sunday morning.

The migrant from Sichuan said he bought a ticket from a scalper last year. “I called a ticket scalper this year, but he told me that he could no longer get tickets due to the real-name system,” he said.

(Xinhua)

 

Train ticket Web site gets 1 bln clicks daily amid complaints

CHINA’S official Web site for booking train tickets received a daily average of more than 1 billion hits during the first week of January, according to a railway official.

Hu Yadong, vice minister of railways, said Sunday that the online ticket sales platform has provided travelers with a convenient way to buy tickets. He also addressed complaints about the fairness of the sales process.

“Train tickets sold online or by telephone have topped 2 million daily, meaning that around one-third of passengers don’t have to wait in line at train stations for several hours to get a ticket,” Hu said.

However, many Chinese have expressed dissatisfaction with the Web site, with some people unable to get train tickets home for the Spring Festival holiday.

Several customers posted their complaints on popular microblogging Web site weibo.com, stating that the booking site often failed due to “too many visits at the same time.”

(Xinhua)

 

Buses plunge off road in SW China

CHINA’S annual holiday travel season officially began Sunday with reports of two separate major bus accidents in southwestern Guizhou Province that left at least five people dead and 47 injured.

In the latest tragedy, a bus carrying 11 people slid off the road and plunged into a 90-meter-deep creek in mountainous Guizhou on Sunday afternoon, leaving one dead and nine injured.

In another accident Sunday, four people, including a child, were killed and 38 others injured when a bus veered off a road into the eight-meter-deep ditch in the county of Dafang Sunday morning.

While the majority of rural migrants return by train during the Spring Festival transportation, many who work in remote parts of the country have to take long-distance buses.

China has the world’s second longest highways, but substandard construction and lax safety supervision in some regions have resulted in poor safety records.

An average of approximately 70,000 people die and 300,000 others are injured in China’s road accidents every year, according to the Ministry of Public Security, warning that the country has entered a period with “high occurrence of road accidents.”

(Xinhua)

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