Shanghaiist feels lucky that we will stay home for Spring Festival after reading this Sohu report (in Chinese) about the annual holiday transportation peak between January 14 and February 22. Ticket prices for trains, buses and boats are up 20-100 percent during this season and everything is going to packed, uncomfortably packed, like can’t fight your way to to the toilet packed (and then if you finally make it to the toilet, you’ll wish you didn’t — trust us).
According to Chinese tradition, getting a ticket home has become a top priority for many in order to reunite with their families for Spring Festival. This China Daily report says it’s estimated there will be close to 2 billion “trips” taken during the holiday and more than 90 percent of the passengers will choose land transport. Last week, hundreds of thousands of passengers were delayed due to bad whether in the northeast. Currently, some 10,000 passengers are stranded at Shanghai Railway Station during the “fourth day of chaos” there.
Authorities in major cities such as Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai have asked for extra trains, buses, ships and flights to meet requirements of the huge flow. Special trains are supposed to be arranged for students and migrant workers in the regions with large flows of the two groups. Still, there are more chronic complaints about difficulties purchasing tickets and the poor conditions once you actually get on a train.
This Sina.com report says that experts say China should speed up economic growth and narrow the income gap between different regions so as to gradually diminish the large-scale movement of labor forces and solve the problem of peak travel. Experts also suggest that migrant workers should be paid more so they become part of the cities where they work. (Shanghaiist thinks these serious issues need attention for more reasons than just making holiday travel easier.)
Here’s an idea that might alleviate some of the strain on our transportation system: Don’t require that 1.3 billion people do all of their traveling during the same three weeks every year.
Snow snarl may mean missed holiday meals (Shanghai Daily)