Traveler Tide in Spring Festival

In the next half an month or so, we will experience the largest transportation tide. It is maybe the largest scale of people move in the planet. It is because of the Spring Festival.

Why So Many People Need to Go Home

Although people do not treat spring festival as serious as the previous generations (some may ignore the Chunlian, or couplet, some may ignore the traditional events during the festival), most of people still keep the tradition of going back home during the Spring Festival.

Spring Festival is the biggest holiday in China. For many people, it is maybe the only holiday for them to have a chance to leave where they work or study and get back to home. No matter where you are, most of the people will try to get back home.

How Many People

I don’t need to mention the population of China: 1.3 billion or 1.6 billion (depends on which source you get the information). The change in the recent few years is clear, more and more people are mobile. They move out of their home town and move to larger cities, like Shanghai, Beijing or move from smaller village to cities nearby. This adds to the demand to transportation capacity during the Spring Festival. During this peak time, many train stations are sending more than 200K passengers per day.

No Way to Get Ticket

Every year, during this period of time, it is extremely hard, if not impossible, to get a train ticket. People have to wait in cold for hours, or days, just to hear the person in the ticket counter to say “no” with their own ears.

Let’s just imagine this scenario. If I decide to go back to Luoyang, my choices will be:

  • Go to Train station to get ticket. Definitely no way. There are no train tickets, and even the tickets without seat (standing there for 19 hours) are sold out. For every ticket, there are at least thousands of people there waiting for it.
  • Pay high price – even those resellers who charge double to triple the price cannot help you. You have money, but you cannot get the ticket.
  • By Air? No way. All tickets are booked long time ago.
  • By Bus? All bus tickets are sold out. No way to get more. Don’t dream about cheaper price. Full price tickets already disappeared.

Snow and Bad Weather Cause Bigger Problem

I just read the news. Due to snow, there are already 0.6 million people jammed in the train station. More and more people are coming. The Metro Station in Guangzhou has been used to hold these passengers.

I just talked with some people who decided to go back home, but don’t have a ticket. All the door closed to them. It seems there is only one door left for them: walk.

I run into the same problem before, but this time, we decided not to go back home. My parents visited us before the festival, just to avoid the rush hours.

More Transportation Capacity Seriously Needed

The huge demand for transportation and the relative weak supply caused the big problem. In the future, I do want to see the government put more money form the huge tax dollars into transportation, and do something to help the people to get the ticket they need, and help them to get back home (including me).

11 thoughts on “Traveler Tide in Spring Festival

  1. @Jian Shuo – all our blessings for the New Year… my wife, baby and I will arrive in Shanghai this Saturday – it is a very important time for our families. We will stay for almost the full month of February (I will work in the 3rd week, alternating between Shanghai and Beijing).

  2. Jianshuo, where is your hometown and are you traveling home with Wendy and Yifan? If so, best of luck with your travels and take a well deserved break!

  3. I heard of rumours of people getting into/off the train by the window during the Spring festival period.Apparently that happened in the past and was shown on TV. No idea if it’s true.

    I wouldn’t want to take the train at this time. There will be too many people. I’m really sorry for the Chinese people who cannot go back home because of the snow or lack of tickets.

  4. Train tickets have been in short supply for more than 20 years now. And the problem does not look like going away any time soon. In a marcket economy, it is hard to image anything whose supply and demand would take more than 20 years to banlance each other. I think we all have to think and discuss what is preventing the marcket from working.

  5. Two 80-20 rules lead to this problem.

    1 Most people goes to few cities for work or study. –China economy phenomenon. The cities are developing not evenly.

    2 Care exclusively the Spring Festival over other many fistivals/vacations. –China tradition.

    Most people goes the same direction (from the modernized cities to the small cities/ rural areas) at the same time…

    Two way to alleviate:

    Resolve the non blance among cities. (quite hard)

    Change the mind and apply new life style, to make use of vacations. (I believe we’re gonna change gradually)

  6. where is your hometown ?

    are you traveling home with Wendy and Yifan?

    If so, best of luck with your travels and take a well deserved break.

  7. can some one suggest me good hotel near railway station?

    we want to travel from shanghai to bejing 9 th of may,

    will it be easy to get ticket 2 days before ?

    z train is the best or some other train

    how much will be the cost of ticket?

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