The holiday travel season only just commenced on Sunday and already air and rail travel have suffered notable and numerous disruptions thanks to the winter of Mordor.
With snow and blizzards in China’s eastern and southern provinces, at least 38 trains were delayed in Nanjing on Sunday alone.
Aviation hasn’t fared much better — 11,229 passengers were stranded at the Kunming airport on Saturday, and more flights were cancelled in Zhejiang, Sichuan and other provinces.
Kunming airport’s official Weibo account microblogged the shutdown blow-by-blow, as camouflaged and armed police cleared ice off the runways for travelers passing through China’s “Spring City.”
With some 2.9 billion trips booked over the Spring Festival period, travellers unsurprisingly have been displeased by the disruptions.
“The Kunming airport didn’t handle the extreme weather properly — after all, they’re inexperienced,” complained a passenger surnamed Liu, who was headed to Kunming but was instead kept waiting in Nanjing for 52 hours.
Since Saturday, about 1,200 flights were canceled although the airport resumed operations as of Monday noon local time.
However, airport delays aren’t limited to inside China, over the weekend, more than 90,000 people were stranded on the South Korean island of Jeju with around 1,400 of them bustling around the airport. According to NetEase, many of the stranded passengers were Chinese and apparently caused quite the fuss during their wait to get back home.
Photos have been posted to the Chinese internet showing angry passengers throwing chairs and arguing with airport staff.
But aside from delays, China’s Ministry of Public Security has warned that the increase in people travelling plus extreme weather equals a higher risk of accidents.
Railway transport authorities have thus been introducing new measures for the safety of passengers.
“We will take measures based on different levels of impact caused by the cold wave,” promised Wang Tongliang, from the Wuhan Railway Bureau. “For instance, the overhead lines may freeze in cold weather. In this case, high-speed trains will operate at a slower speed.”
With the number of Spring Festival trips this year rising 3.6% from last year, China’s transport industry has had to up its game significantly. Here are some details from the Ministry of Transportation’s Wang Shuiping:
Along with the more-than 3000 daily scheduled trains, 400 extra trains will be added. 846-thousand buses will be put into operation during the travel rush, offering nearly 22 million seats. Each day 2.6 million bus trips will be made by road. 20-thousand ships will be available with one million seats. And the civil aviation system is expected to offer 520 thousand flights, up seven percent year-on-year.
But for the time being, the cold snap will probably do some more impeding of reveling, with mercury continuing to drop a bit through tonight.
[Images via NetEase]