The Spring Festival travel season, also known as the largest annual human migration in the world, officially began yesterday.
This year, Spring Festival falls on February 16 and as usual, the annual travel rush commences two weeks before New Year’s Eve. So that means we need to brace ourselves from now, as the 40-day-long chunyun period officially started yesterday February 1, and will end March 12.
At 0.50am on February 1, train number K4085 slowly left Shanghai South Railway Station bound for Chongqing, making it the first official train of the Spring Festival travel season in Shanghai.
On the first official day of chunyun, over 340,000 passengers departed Shanghai via the three major train stations in the city; 97,000 from Shanghai Railway Station, 48,000 from Shanghai South Railway Station and 205, 000 from Hongqiao Railway Station.
On Thursday, to manage the sudden increase in passengers, an additional 32 trains were included in the schedule for the three stations. With anticipation that numbers will continue to multiply, further trains will be put into service to cover even more destinations. It is predicted that the peak travel days will be February 12 and February 14.
During the entire holiday season, 13.15 million passengers are expected to travel by train, an increase of 9.6 percent year-on-year. As at January 15, it was reported that 2.08 million train tickets had been sold.
Shanghai’s two airports, Pudong Airport and Hongqiao Airport, were also bursting with people yesterday. It is estimated that together, the two airports will manage 12.6 million travelers during chunyun, amounting to an increase of 7 percent than that of last year.
The Shanghai Airport Authority advised that passenger destinations are popular tourist locations in Asia, including Japan, Thailand and Malaysia.
To relieve the pressure of the holiday crowd, Shanghai Metro will arrange extra trains for Lines 1, 2, 3 and 4, which run through the three major train stations. From February 20 to March 12, after the first train sets out from the terminal station, additional trains will quickly follow.
In addition, on February 20 and 21, when travelers are expected to start returning from their hometowns, Line 2 will extend its service by setting up three special trains at 10.20pm, 10.40pm and 11pm. The trains will commence from Shanghai Pudong International Airport and will only stop at Chuansha, Guanglan Road, Century Avenue and People’s Square stations.
So, as you commence your own Spring Festival travel, take care out there among the crowds and enjoy your time being a part of the greatest human migration.
Read more on Chinese New Year Spring Festival 2018, here.