Passengers access to Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province, Jan. 13, 2017. About 2.98 billion trips are expected to be made during China's 2017 Spring Festival travel rush between Jan. 13 and Feb. 21. The figure represents an increase of 2.2 percent from the same period in 2016. The Spring Festival, or Chinese Lunar New Year, falls on Jan. 28 this year. The festival is the most important occasion for family reunions. (Xinhua/Xiao Yijiu)
The world's most populous country kicked off its largest annual travel rush Friday, with a record number of trips expected during the Chinese New Year holiday season.
The 40-day travel frenzy from Jan. 13 to Feb. 21 is known as "Chunyun," the hectic period surrounding Chinese lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, which falls on Jan. 27 this year.
The Chinese New Year celebrations are China's most important family holiday, with hundreds of millions of people heading for their hometowns to reunite with relatives and old friends, putting huge stress on the transport system.
A record 2.978 billion trips are expected during "Chunyun" this year, up 2.2 percent year on year, according to the Ministry of Transport.
Up to 356 million trips are expected to be made via rail, up 9.7 percent year on year.
A total of 2.52 billion trips are expected to be made via roads and 43.5 million trips via waterways, up 1 percent and 2 percent year on year, respectively.
Trips made via air are expected to rise 10 percent year on year to 58.3 million, the ministry said.
The ministry said that more passenger trains would be added during the period to deal with the extra numbers, and ticket purchase procedures would be simplified to improve services.
China's rapidly-developing high-speed railways will help ease the holiday strain for travelers. The country boasts a high-speed rail network of more than 20,000 km, the world's largest.