Guangdong eases way home for workers
Updated: 2014-01-16 02:31
By Qiu Quanlin in Guangzhou (China Daily)
A couple on a motorcycle takes a break to enjoy free refreshments at a temporary station in Liuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, on Tuesday. Police set up temporary stations during the Spring Festival travel rush to assist migrant workers heading home. Deng Liting / Xinhua
The transportation authority in Guangdong province announced on Wednesday a series of tailored auto services — with the help of a gas company and repair shops — for drivers heading back home during the Spring Festival rush.
Services include a mobile phone app that provides real-time traffic conditions, free gas and packages of food for motorcycle riders, emergency help at gas stations and free auto maintenance for sedan drivers, sources with the authority said.
"The services were introduced for all of the people driving back home," said Liu Xiaohua, deputy director of Guangdong Transportation Department.
Guangdong, which has more than 30 million migrant workers, is expected to see 113 million trips during the Spring Festival travel rush, which will begin on Thursday and end on Feb 24, according to the provincial department.
The province had 5,705 kilometers of highways as of last year, said Liu, who added that the expressways enable a more efficient transportation network for people who intend to drive back home.
The transportation authority decided on these services after it found "an increasing number of migrant workers who are choosing to ride their motorbikes to reunite with their families".
Among the newly introduced services is free gas provided by Sinopec (Guangdong) for the first 10,000 migrant workers who drive their motorbikes back to their hometowns from the province.
Migrant workers were allowed to apply for the free gas from Wednesday. Those who are among the 10,000 will also get supplies of food for their ride home, according to Sinopec.
The company is also collaborating with a Guangdong youth volunteers association to provide emergency help for its 178 gas stations across the province.
"The services will cover major highways and expressways in the province. We will promote the services in large factories to inform more migrant workers," Jiang Yinghui, vice Party chief of Sinopec (Guangdong).
Jiang said migrant workers on average spend at least 10 hours driving their motorbikes from Guangdong to their homes in neighboring provinces and regions.
"We are willing to make the journey more comfortable for migrant workers," he said.
Che Wang, who works in Yangjiang, Guangdong province, said he and his wife are planning on riding his motorbike back to his hometown of Tongren, Guizhou province.
"It is often difficult to buy a train ticket during Spring Festival. So we have to ride my motorbike back home again," Che said.
It will take at least two and a half days for the couple to travel more than 1,200 km to reach Tongren, Che said.
The couple is among an estimated 400,000 migrant workers who have driven their motorbikes back to their hometowns in neighboring provinces and regions over the past two years during the Spring Festival rush.
"I am very glad to learn that authorities in Guangdong have introduced such good services, which will give us a sense of comfort," he said.