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Vital China on the move

Vessels carrying production and living supplies shuttle back and forth on the Huai'an section of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal in east China's Jiangsu province, Feb. 13, 2024. (Photo by He Jinghua/People's Daily Online)
Vessels carrying production and living supplies shuttle back and forth on the Huai'an section of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal in east China's Jiangsu province, Feb. 13, 2024. (Photo by He Jinghua/People's Daily Online)

By Qiu Chaoyi, Li Xinping, Han Xin

The Spring Festival travel rush, carrying people’s hopes for family reunion, reflects the new landscape of China’s high-quality development.

During the 2024 Spring Festival holiday, which ran from Feb. 10 to 17, China reported about 2.3 billion trips in varied modes of transport. In particular, the railway system handled about 99.59 million trips; about 2.18 billion trips were made on highways; waterway and civil aviation trips stood at 9.4 million and 18.04 million.

Regions and departments across China have strengthened coordination, increased transport capacity reserves, and prepared contingency plans, to make Spring Festival travels safer, more convenient and cozier, injecting vitality into this country on the move.

In 2023, China saw the introduction of new high-speed rail lines spanning 2,776 kilometers, along with the construction and expansion of over 7,000 kilometers of expressways. Additionally, the accessibility of domestic air routes expanded by 23 percent, providing strong support for meeting the travel demands during the Spring Festival holiday and facilitating regional connectivity.

During this year’s Spring Festival holiday, Chen, who resides in Fuzhou, southeast China’s Fujian province, took his family to the ancient city of Quanzhou in the province, taking the G1609 high-speed train. The trip only took them less than an hour.

The Fuzhou-Xiamen high-speed railway is China’s first cross-sea high-speed railway designed for a speed of 350 kilometers per hour. With the opening of it, the travel time between Fuzhou and Xiamen has been shortened to around an hour, while that among Xiamen, Zhangzhou, Quanzhou, and other cities has been cut to half an hour.

At the end of last year, the full opening of the Beijing-Xiong’an expressway just gave Zhang Chenghui, whose hometown is in Xiong’an New Area, north China’s Hebei province, a new option to return home. 

“The road is smooth, signs are clear, and the scenery is beautiful. It only takes an hour to drive from Beijing to Xiong’an. It’s so convenient,” he said.

In Hefei, east China’s Anhui province, an intelligent operation command center for expressways was recently put into use by Anhui Transportation Holding Group, which is able to obtain real-time traffic, weather and other information, thus ensuring safe travel during the Spring Festival travel rush.

Last November, the Anyang Hongqiqu Airport in Anyang, central China’s Henan province opened for operation, becoming the first civil airport in the north of the province.

“With the new airport, it’s much more convenient to return home now,” said a woman surnamed Cai, who was traveling back to Anyang from Guangzhou, south China’s Guangdong province. Previously, it took her over seven hours by high-speed rail to get home, but now the trip has been shortened to 2.5 hours by plane.

During the Spring Festival travel rush, regions across China introduced a series of thoughtful services, striving to improve passenger experience and provide strong support for safe and convenient travel.

“Tongtong, you did great!” At Beijing Daxing International Airport, a man surnamed Liu took his grandson Tongtong from the ground crew of China Southern Airlines. He soon called the child’s mother, telling her that Tongtong had arrived safe and sound.

Tongtong, 6, was able to fly alone across much of China from Guangzhou, thanks to the upgraded “unaccompanied minor” boarding service introduced by China Southern Airlines during the Spring Festival travel rush. 

“From check-in, security check, boarding to pick-up, there is a staff member accompanying the child at every step, so the little ones will not leave our sight,” said Yi Liang, a staff member at the China Southern Airlines special passenger service counter at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport. 

Yi said that with the increase in passenger flow and flights this Spring Festival, China Southern Airlines has further upgraded its special passenger services. Since the start of the Spring Festival travel rush, China Southern Airlines has provided services to over 600 unaccompanied minors and other special passengers on a daily basis.

During the Spring Festival, regions across China also strengthened the organization of freight sources and smoothed logistics channels to fully ensure the adequate supply of important livelihood commodities.

In Shaanxi province, the Haolebaoji-Ji’an railway increased coal transport capacity; in Jiangsu province, multiple express delivery companies stayed operational during the Spring Festival to deliver New Year goods to households; in Hainan province, ports of the Qiongzhou Strait implemented 24-hour operations to meet the needs of ro-ro passenger ships…

China on the move reflects the joy of reunion and mirrors the vitality of development.

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