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February 8, 2010

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Shanghai's passenger rush begins

SHANGHAI transport hubs - railway stations, long-distance bus terminals and airports - had a taste of things to come over the weekend with the first surge of passengers in the 40-day Spring Festival travel season.

Commuter turnover reached a record high for the period yesterday as more than 250,000 passengers left the city via trains and long-distance buses, the two preferred choices of transport, to head back to their hometowns for annual family reunions during the nation's most important festival.

Traffic authorities expect passengers leaving the city to peak this week.

At the city's two major train stations, daily passenger turnover is forecast to surpass 250,000 from Wednesday to Friday, rail officials said.

They were quick to assure commuters that travel demands would be comfortably met.

About 6.48 million people are expected to make use of the two rail stations over the entire break, an 8.5 percent rise over last year.

The stations opened 72 temporary services yesterday and will continue to add temporary trains or extra carriages as passenger volume increases.

There are still plenty of rail tickets available to neighboring cities in the Yangtze River Delta region, while tickets to northwest and central China are selling out fast, according to officials.

At the Shanghai South Long-Distance Bus Station, officials yesterday reported a busy weekend, with about 73,000 passengers leaving since Friday, a 12 percent rise year on year.

Shi Weiwei, an operations official at the station, said the peak would arrive on Friday, two days before the Chinese Lunar New Year.

More than 85,000 tickets with boarding dates from today to next Saturday have been sold.

The station will add more than 400 bus services per day on Thursday and Friday.

Total bus services daily will top 1,320.

Shanghai's two international airports - Pudong and Hongqiao - have beefed up security checks as the holiday rush begins.

Authorities reminded passengers to arrive two hours ahead of boarding time.

The airports are expecting about 3.3 million departures during the holiday and about 3.17 million arrivals.


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