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LinkAsia | Jan 29
Heavy smog is back in many of China's largest cities after a brief respite, and this time it is disrupting the Spring Festival travel rush. CCTV Ne...
Yawen Chen (LinkAsia):
'A mountain of people, a sea of people.' - Perhaps nothing illustrates that Chinese saying better than the annual spring festival rush. Beijing is seeing a huge human migration before this giant city empties and quiets down. Tickets run out fast, while cheap and easy hardly co-exist. But while many expected to be packed like sardines, some options are better than the others. As a special group of 'migrant workers', college students in Beijing tell us their stories of going home. Sun Maochen flew for just an hour before he arrived at Dalian, a major city in Northeast China. According to Sun, the trip home was 'fast and convenient.'
I feel great about my trip, because I caught my flight on time, unlike one of my classmate who missed her flight by stuck on the road. And that's why I chose metro [subway] to go to the airport. And my ticket is Eastern Airlines, which cost me 820 yuan from Beijing to Dalian. I feel lucky to get this ticket in such a special period of time, which is so called 'Chunyun' in Chinese. But I found no difference with usual. I mean, people all lined up in all the queues, and it seems like they are all full of experiences of traveling by plane. Even when we were informed that our aircraft will be delayed for one hour, there is no complaints at all.
Sun's family booked the ticket online a month in advance. Sun was not sure about his return date, so they bought an open ticket. It cost USD$135, about one tenth of Sun's annual college tuition. Asked if flying is popular among students, Sun told us most of the passengers on his flight seemed to be businessmen. Another student, Li Sisi, took the express train home on one of the new lines that China has built. Like Sun, she took the Beijing subway to get to the train station.
It feels the same as previous trips home, although people obviously carry more stuff during the festival rush.
Five and half hours later, Li was home in Qingdao in eastern China. Students receive a 15 percent discount, so Li paid USD$32 for her train ticket. Students are relatively lucky. Migrant workers make up the bulk of passengers during the Festival travel rush, and for many of them, it's a long and hard journey home.