The craziness of organizing your Spring Festival travel plans has begun. With China’s most important holiday now only 2 months away, the China Railway Corporation (CRC), operator of China’s rail network has, as of this past Sunday, just started to sell train tickets for the holiday travel period known as “chunyun”, 春运.
“Chunyun”, which is sometimes called the world’s largest human migration, is the hectic 40 day travel period surrounding the Spring Festival (also known as Chinese New Year) which falls in 2015 on the the 19th of February.
The mad rush for ticketing has opened so passengers can now book tickets for departures for the festival, which runs February 4th to the 16th of March, through the Internet or by phone.
The holiday period sees tens of millions of people traveling across the country heading home to celebrate the lunar new year with their families. And of course this annual stampede of people puts massive pressure on the national transportation system.
Over the years China’s railway system has become increasingly far-reaching for people all over the mainland, but annoyingly for customers, the railway’s online ticketing system has been “notoriously unable to keep pace with the high demand of travelers during the season” the International Business Times reported.
According to the Xinhua news agency, during the chunyun period last year about 266 million trips were made on railways, up 12 percent from the previous year.
In total, roughly 3.6 billion Spring Festival holiday trips were made last year. Journeys by road, air and water stood at 3.26 billion, 44.07 million and 42 million respectively. The busiest day fell on February 6th, the last day of the 2014 Spring Festival holiday, when a “record 8.36 million railway trips were made,”said the Ministry of Transport in an official statement.
The statement went on to point out that 2014’s “3.6 billion trips” set a new record. There were 500 million trips in 1984, 1 billion in 1994, over 2 billion in 2006, and more than 3 billion in 2012. For chunyun 2015, the China Railway Corporation plans to run 3,063 pairs of trains, an increase of 335 pairs from 2014. Lets hope they’ll be able to deal with the deluge of people wanting to move around the Mainland.
Have troubles navigating the online ticketing system? Just follow these steps!
Image courtesy of Business Week.