China vows smooth Spring Festival travel rush
A train from Shanghai to Chengdu, Sichuan province, departs from Shanghai Railway Station on Jan 25, 2018. The Spring Festival travel rush will begin on Thursday. Photo: VCG

China will take multiple measures to ensure a smooth Spring Festival travel rush, according to an official with China's top economic planner Wednesday.
 
About 2.98 billion trips are expected to be made during the 2018 Spring Festival travel rush, known as the Chunyun, between February 1 and March 12, Lian Weiliang, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) told a press conference.
 
The figure is basically the same as that of last year, he said.
 
The number of road trips is projected to reach 2.48 billion, a 1.6-percent decrease from last year, while train trips are likely to top 390 million, up 8.8 percent year on year, the NDRC said in an earlier statement.
 
Air travel will likely top 65 million trips, surging 10 percent from last year, while boat trips are predicted to reach 46 million during the period.
 
Transportation authorities are prepared for the travel rush, when hundreds of millions of Chinese return to their hometowns or travel around the country, putting huge pressure on the transportation system, according to Lian.
 
"Around 3 billion trips during the 40 days will be a big test for the country's transportation departments," said Liu Xiaoming, an official with the Ministry of Transportation.
 
To enhance the railway transportation capability, an additional 1,152 and 1,330 train services will be scheduled before and after the festival respectively, on the basis of 3,819 operating trains every day, according to Li Wenxin with China Railway Corporation.
 
An additional 177 high-speed train services will be scheduled to operate each night, which will be able to carry 100,000 more passengers each day, he said.
 
China's railway network hit 127,000 km in length at the end of 2017, including 25,000 km of high-speed railway. Last year, 3,038 km of new rail tracks were put into production, which Li said would further reduce pressure on transportation.
 
At the same time, the aviation authority plans to schedule additional 30,000 flights during the travel rush on the basis of about 14,500 flights every day, said Wang Zhiqing, deputy head of the Civil Aviation Administration.
 
Liu also encouraged other means of transportation including ride-sharing to meet surging travel demand.
 
The Spring Festival, or Chinese Lunar New Year, falls on Feb. 16 this year.
 

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