Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Great Migration

All everyone can think about now is the Spring Festival, or chun jie.

It's the equivalent of Christmas or Thanksgiving, where the large majority of the population go back to their hometowns for what used to be the only holiday in the entire year.

The most popular modes of transport for the majority of people are the trains and buses. And currently there are long lines at ticket offices to get a ride home.

Getting a ticket is the great equalizer. It's hard to book a ticket on the phone. Internet booking isn't even available yet. You have to do it the traditional way of first come, first served. Oh and make sure you bring cash too.

And if they can't get a ticket from these offices, they may turn to a scalper. Then they have to be extra wary to make sure it's a bona fide ticket otherwise they'll not only be short of money but also a way to get back to their hometowns.

Some 179 million people will take the train, over 1 billion on buses, and 22 million taking flight.

While transport officials have promised extra trains, buses and planes on standby, it probably will not be enough to meet the demand.

Nevertheless it's an amazing migration of people across a country for the most special time of the year.

Hopefully everyone will get home safely to their loved ones and back again.

1 comment:

ks said...

i have always been thinking this type of mass movement is a waste of human power. a perfect social system should stagger their time off so that the work/relaxation cycle can be maintained seamlessly.