Rails, roads jammed with holiday travelers

Updated: 2016-10-08 06:43

By CHEN MENGWEI(China Daily)

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Rails, roads jammed with holiday travelers

People line up to enter the subway station outside the Beijing Railway Station on Friday, the last day of the seven-day National Day holiday, after their return from traveling or visiting home during the vacation. [Photo by Zou Hong/China Daily]

As the national weeklong vacation drew to an close on Friday, reality showed again that getting back to town can be just as hard as leaving it, especially for residents of major metropolises like Beijing and Shanghai.

A record-breaking 12.57 million people were estimated to travel by train on Friday alone, according to China Railway.

Similar mass migrations were common during this year's National Day vacation, with more than 10 million people traveling by train on each of the eight days-Sept 30 to Friday-of the holiday. That brought the total of train trips to 108 million, up 9.3 percent year-on-year, during the total 10-day travel spree from Sept 28 to Oct 7, according to the company.

And it wasn't just the trains, the roads were jammed with travelers, too. According to the Beijing municipal government, 1.376 million cars made their way along city highways from midnight to 4 pm on Thursday, 12.55 percent more than during the same period last year.

To cope with the situation, the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau sent out fleets of tow trucks to points along jammed highways-like Beijing-Tibet, Beijing-Kaifeng, Beijing-Chengde-where accidents were common, to deal with any problems and "clear the way for cars returning home".

The Beijing Commission of Transport published seven road maps online to help people find shortcuts and avoid traffic jams. Yet the gridlock on some freeways was up to 8 kilometers long, according to media reports.

An increasing number of Chinese went on road tours during the National Day holiday, in part because the government has waived the highway fee since 2012, as it also does with the Spring Festival, Tomb Sweeping Day and Labor Day holidays.

Bad weather delayed flights in Beijing and Shanghai.

Zhou Yanyan, a Shanghai-based journalist, was in Sanya, Hainan province, on a reporting trip. Zhou planned to catch a flight back to Shanghai that would depart at 4:50 pm on Friday, yet by press time her plane was still in Shanghai reportedly due to "weather conditions".

Zhou said that all her fellow passengers were transferred to a nearby hotel for free accommodation, and she saw at least four shuttle buses taking passengers from different flights to hotels for similar reasons.

"They all seemed calm and OK with it, and maybe I'm the most unhappy person. I've got work to do," Zhou sighed.

Traffic jams aside, China is expected to have made 478.2 billion yuan ($71.7 billion) from tourism during the golden week, a 13.5 percent increase year-on-year, according to a survey by China Tourism Academy and online travel agency Ctrip.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

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