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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Opinion
China on the move the changing way
    2018-February-12  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

Wu Guangqiang

jw368@163.com

THE world will soon witness the largest annual human migration on earth again: China’s Chunyun period, or the Spring Festival travel season.

As the Chinese version of Christmas, the Lunar New Year is a time when every Chinese returns home to be with family, exchanges gifts, enjoys the flavor of their hometown, and sets off firecrackers. Most Chinese will go to any lengths to get home.

The sheer size of China’s population of 1.4 billion makes the travel season one of the world wonders. It’s predicted that during the six weeks of the Chunyun period of 2018, over 3 billion trips will be made. That’s equivalent to roughly half of the world’s population journeying around in a span of just weeks.

By any standard, it’s a Herculean task to transport so many people to their destinations quickly and safely. According to data released by China’s Ministry of Transport, during last year’s Chunyun period, 43.2 percent of passengers traveled by train, 17.2 percent by air, 8.5 percent by car, and 30 percent used combined means.

The history of Chunyun is the epitome of China’s epoch-making changes in the past decades.

It was in 1954 that the State officially used the term Chunyun and set up an administration office to coordinate the related matters.

Despite the insignificant numbers of travelers then compared to those of today owing to an underdeveloped economy and extremely backward public transport system, traveling was very difficult at that time, even over short distances. The number of trips made in 1954 was a mere 23 million nationwide.

The adoption of the reform and opening-up policy in the late 1970s greatly boosted China’s economic growth, which resulted in the explosive increase in the number of travelers. From 23 million in 1954, the number of trips during the Chunyun period rose steadily to 100 million in 1979, 500 million in 1984, 1 billion in 1994, 2 billion in 2006, 3 billion in 2012, and peaked at 3.62 billion in 2014.

The millions, even billions of trips definitely place a severe strain on China’s transportation resources. In early years, waiting in an endless line outside a ticket office was the only way to book a trip. Later on, online booking was made available, but the chances of grabbing a ticket were still as slim as winning a lottery.

Fortunately, China’s rapid economic and technological advancement is turning traveling from an unpleasant experience into an enjoyable one.

Chinese passengers are savoring the convenience of the most diversified means of transportation in the world. Whizzing high-speed railways have taken the place of crowded, slowly chugging trains. Fast-expanding fleets of jetliners have also become an affordable choice for passengers.

High-tech measures are being adopted to facilitate traveling. Facial recognition has been used at many stations to speed up the flow of passengers. Without paper tickets or manual check-in procedures, time spent queuing before entry has been greatly reduced. Before long, the technology will be used at all transport terminals.

Mobile payment saves a lot of time for passengers and service providers alike, which is of great significance given the huge numbers of travelers.

Big data and AI deep learning are also helping those who are unable to get train or air tickets go home in a new way: car-pooling. Cutting-edge technologies better match the potential passengers with the car providers.

According to Didi Chuxing, China’s No. 1 ride-sharing company, it will transport 33 million people in pooled cars during this coming Chunyun period, eight times that of the last year.

(The author is an English tutor and freelance writer.)

 

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Shenzhen Daily E-mail:szdaily@szszd.com.cn