During the overall Spring Festival holiday period known as ‘chunyun’, the transportation sector in China ramps up to maximum capacity to manage 40 days of heavy demand. It started on February 4 and will run until March 16 to allow many millions of people to make it home and spend their only yearly holiday with their family before returning back to urban centers where they work during the rest of the year.
This annual travel rush may be the largest recurrent human migration in the world. During the travel peak last year, Chinese passengers made more than 3.6 billion trips. Among them, about 3.3 billion were made by road, 266 million by rail, 44 million by air, 42 million by ship and a few ….. on foot.
Indeed, freezing rain and fog recently shut down Leigong Mountain’s highway in Guizhou province’s Qiandongnan Miao and Dong autonomous prefecture ahead of China’s biggest annual celebration. The closure forced people returning to Yongle county and Datang village to hike 20 kilometers on the slick road. Some hauled luggage and festival foods – even a live pig dangling from a bamboo yoke. The trek took about five hours but they all made it home!
This year, more than one million trips were made via 12,500 airline flights on February 4, while the China Railway Corp, operator of the country’s trains, said it handled 6 million trips on the same day and they expect about 289 million trips will be made this year, 26 million more than last year.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China forecast that more than 47 million trips will be made by air this year, and it has arranged for Chinese airlines to add 8,740 domestic flights and 3,052 international flights to deal with the passenger surge.