January 16, 2008 / 5:38 AM / 12 years ago

Chinese to make 2.3 billion Year of Rat trips

BEIJING (Reuters) - China expects more than 2.3 billion trips by commuters criss-crossing the country for family reunions and holidays over the Chinese New Year holiday season, state media reported on Wednesday.

The Year of the Rat begins on Feb. 7 and the lunar new year, also known as the Spring Festival in China, sees one of the world’s largest human migrations.

More than 120 million migrant workers cram on to trains and buses to return to home villages for holidays after working in the city during the year.

Travellers in the world’s most populous country would make an extra 130 million trips compared to last year during the peak travel season, which kicked off on Wednesday and runs until March 2, the China Daily said, citing transport officials.

About 2.15 billion bus trips would be taken during the period, while the nation’s railways would carry 179 million passengers, up 8 percent from last year, the paper said.

China’s aviation authority expects at least 22 million passengers will fly during the season, up 10 percent from last year.

It is common for travellers to be stranded for days during peak travel times, unable to obtain train or bus tickets.

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