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May 3, 2021

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Railways handle massive passenger traffic

Shanghai’s railway system handled a large number of passengers on Saturday, the first day of the five-day May Day holiday, China Railway Shanghai Group has announced.

The number hit 648,176 from the seven railway stations in Shanghai, which is higher than the 595,946 on October 1, 2019, the start of the weeklong National Day holiday.

Among the seven stations, Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station recorded the largest number of passengers at 372,406. An additional 60 trains have been introduced to cope with the demand. They will head for Xuzhou City, as well as to Jiangxi and Anhui provinces.

Nationwide, nearly 18.83 million passenger trips were made on Saturday, the China State Railway Group Co said. It marked an increase of 9.2 percent from the 2019 level. The company was expecting about 14.2 million railway passenger trips yesterday.

In total, tourists are estimated to make 265 million trips during the holiday period, China’s Transport Ministry said earlier last week.

Shanghai Railway Station, Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station and Shanghai South Railway Station have increased the number of ticket windows and security checkpoints to speed up passenger flow.

Many people had canceled their home visit and travel plans during the Spring Festival holiday in February due to COVID-19, which is part of the reason behind the travel boom now.

Shanghai resident Zhou Ping bought a ticket to Yixing, neighboring Jiangsu Province, to attend her friend’s wedding banquet on Saturday. She needed to stand for nearly three hours during the trip. 

“I found almost all tickets to the city from Shanghai were sold out, even the indirect ones, on Tuesday. I managed to get one ticket — one of the two available,” she said. “I have to stand for a long time, but I have no choice.”

One of her friends chose to drive to Yixing on Friday night, and it took seven hours to reach due to heavy traffic, compared with the usual two and half hours.

Early on Saturday, Beijing South Railway Station, one of the busiest stations in the Chinese capital, was packed with passengers heading out for vacation. Tickets for the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway, one of the main routes that the railway station operates, were all sold out on the first day of the holiday.

“I feel like this is the first time that the restrictions are really eased after the pandemic,” said Sun Dandan, a real estate professional who lives in Xinjiang and was visiting Beijing for the first time. “People’s enthusiasm for traveling is strengthening again, and the economy is improving too.”

Large groups of tourists were also enjoying themselves at the various attractions in Beijing, including at the city’s famed Qianmen Street, known for its local food and buildings with traditional-style architecture.

“It’s bustling here. The pandemic in foreign countries is very severe, but here in China we are not affected at all,” said Guo Jieping, who was visiting Beijing from Shanxi Province. She added that she had already been vaccinated and was therefore not worried about traveling. Mass vaccinations in China, where over 240 million doses of the vaccine have been administered, have also boosted confidence of travelers.


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