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China braces for post-festival travel peak

China's railways will see the first post-Spring Festival travel peak on Saturday, as millions ride back to work or study after days of family reunions or sightseeing, said the Ministry of Railways on Friday.


Thousands of Passengers wait for trains at Wuchang railway station, Wuhan, Hubei province, on januray 30. The first post-Spring Festibal travel peak came to Wuhan on Friday.[Xinhua] 

Railways carried 4.24 million passengers on Thursday, 11.2 percent more than Wednesday, with mid- and long-distance trips rising 23 percent, said the office in charge of Spring Festival transport.


To meet the growing travel demand, the Ministry of Railways would arrange more trains for busy hubs in such provinces as Sichuan, Hunan, Hubei and Jiangxi, said the office.


Altogether 562 temporary trains were put to use on Thursday, 190 more than the previous day.


The Ministry of Railways also urged railway officials to better organize transport and ticket selling in order not to get passengers stranded.


In the first 19 days of the 40-day festival rush period starting from January 11, 83.1 million trips were made on the country's railways, said the office.


That was 4.37 million on average every day, or 16 percent more than the same period of last year.


Meanwhile, road travelers on Friday surged 60.4 percent from Thursday, said the Ministry of Transport on Friday.


More than 720,000 mid- and large-sized buses carried 47.6 million people on Friday, said the Ministry of Transport. The passenger flow was up 6.6 percent from the same period last year.


Local bus companies have added capacity to routes destined for the provinces of Guangdong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Fujian, where millions of migrant rural workers were employed.


The Ministry of Transport estimated 1.23 million traveled by water on Friday, 3 percent more than a year earlier.


The Spring Festival, or the Chinese Lunar New Year, is the most important traditional festival in China. It falls on January 26 this year.


(Xinhua News Agency February 1, 2009)