CNPC offers free gas to motorbiking migrant workers
Updated: 2013-01-21 07:57
By Hu Meidong and Sun Li in Fuzhou (China Daily)
Migrant workers heading home for the coming Spring Festival by motorbikes from Fujian province will be able to enjoy free gas-filling services along the national highways, as the local branch of China National Petroleum Corp will sponsor the giveaway for the second year.
The Fujian branch of CNPC announced that the program, "A Warmhearted Passage Back Home", includes four routes, with one starting from Fuzhou, the provincial capital, and the other three starting from Quanzhou city.
All routes will lead to East China's Jiangxi province, a neighboring province of Fujian that is home to the vast majority of migrant workers in Fujian.
The hotline of Fuzhou-based newspaper the Strait News, 968111, has served as the activity's hotline since Thursday, and has received more than 30 calls from migrant workers during its first three days of operation, according to Zhang Wei, a reporter with the newspaper who helps with the registration.
About 390 migrant workers that departed Fuzhou and rode motorcycles to Jiangxi province received help and care at 10 filling stations during the activity last year.
"The intention of launching the activity was to save those migrant workers trouble along the way," said Chen Shangyuan, an officer with the company who is in charge of the activity.
Zhou Shiliang, a migrant worker who participated in last year's event, said returning home by motorcycle has become a popular option among fellow migrant workers.
The travel rush during Spring Festival is considered to be the largest annual migration in China. Train tickets can be difficult to purchase, especially for migrant workers who don't know how to buy tickets online, Zhou said.
Compared with train trips, the ride is considerably cheaper, which made many migrant workers choose to return home by motorbike, Zhou added.
Working in Fuzhou as a decorator, Zhou said it takes about 15 hours of riding to return his hometown in Jiangxi's Ganzhou city.
"But the bad weather and the low visibility often slow riders down, making the journey very harsh and longer," Zhou said.
Always equipped with helmets and gloves, riders carry their wives and packages of belongings on the motorcycle. Braving the freezing cold, they need to take a rest occasionally to mitigate the fatigue and warm their stiff hands and feet.
"I'm also worried about the gas. Running out of gas midway would create another big headache," Zhou said.
Calling the CNPC offer a timely solution to the problems along the way, Zhou said he felt safer and warmer riding back home.
Last year, riders not only received free gas, but also got hot tea, ginger porridge, and quick repair tools for free at the service stations.
Chen said that about 20 fueling stations will be involved this year.
Because most participants last year were from Jiangxi province, the destination of the routes in this year's program remained the same. For the small number of migrant workers from other provinces, the rest of the journey won't take much time, Chen said.
He added the main change of this year's activity lies in the increased routes starting from Quanzhou, which was made because many migrant workers had to come to the city to set off with the majority of riders in Fuzhou last year.
"The final departure date will be the day most applicants chose to leave, and the rest will follow suit," Chen said.
The hotline will receive registrations until Feb 2.
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(China Daily 01/21/2013 page5)