By Michael Evans
Train tickets for travelers returning home for the Spring Festival went on sale Monday, as China unveiled new rules aiming to ease the annual long lines at ticket counters across the country.
Railway passengers can now buy train tickets over the phone or online 20 days in advance, while those buying in person at ticket offices can purchase 18 days in advance.
Previously, travelers could purchase tickets no earlier than 12 days before departure.
The 40-day Spring Festival travel season, or Chunyun, will officially begin January 26 and continue until March 6.
Over 226 million passengers are expected to travel on China’s railways during this year’s Chunyun, according to the Ministry of Railways, a 4.6 percent increase from last year.
Earlier estimates put the total number of Chunyun travellers (including those going by road, sea, and air) at 3.41 billion, which would make this year’s holiday travel season the busiest on record (and the largest human migration in history).