The pre-Spring Festival ticket sales peak has arrived for China's railway system, with over 61 million tickets sold since January 12, a year-on-year increase of 159 percent, China State Railway Group Co (China Railway) announced on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, China Railway sold 18.937 million tickets nationwide, and the sales rush is expected to continue until Friday.
Spring Festival, also known as Chinese New Year, is a time of high transportation demand in China as people return home for family reunions. The travel period runs for 40 days starting from Friday.
Since January 12, 190 million railway tickets have been sold in China ahead of the travel rush. Notably, single-day ticket sales reached a record high on China's 12306 online ticketing platform, hitting 18.937 million, with a record-high number of single-day visits of 62.92 billion.
China Railway noted that this year's busiest days will be around February 3 to 6, as people get back to their families ahead of the holiday. Tickets for trains leaving major cities like Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Beijing during these peak days are already in high demand and are selling out fast.
To handle the influx of travelers, China's railway system is ramping up operations, with plans to run around 12,700 trains per day until February 10, increasing slightly to 12,800 after that. While this adds more seats than in previous years, some routes are still expected to be packed.
Meanwhile, other modes of transportation are also gearing up for the holiday rush. Air China, for example, announced on Tuesday that it had scheduled over 67,000 flights during this period, up 32 percent compared to 2019, with an average of 1,693 flights per day.
China is expected to witness 9 billion passenger trips during the annual Spring Festival travel rush, the Ministry of Transport said last week. Among them, China Railway is expected to handle 480 million passenger trips, and the Civil Aviation Administration of China is expected to handle 80 million passenger trips during the 40-day travel rush. The number of self-driving trips is expected to reach 7.2 billion, a historic high.