Although the number of holiday trips declined over the New Year holiday period, mainly due to the COVID-19 containment measures, transportation providers made efforts to ensure safe and smooth travel services for passengers.
Monday marked the end of the three-day holiday. A total of 86.19 million passenger trips were expected to be made across China during the three-day holiday, a year-on-year drop of 18.2 percent, according to the Ministry of Transport.
On Saturday, the first day of the New Year holiday, 30.3 million trips were made across China, a year-on-year drop of 17.8 percent, according to the ministry.
The national railway network also saw a fall in passenger numbers. On Saturday, railway operators handled 8.44 million passenger trips, a year-on-year decrease of 14.7 percent. On Sunday, the network handled 5.68 million trips, a decline of 15.2 percent.
Fewer trips were also made via road. The national road network handled 20.67 million trips on Saturday, marking a decline of 18.9 percent, the ministry said.
The civil aviation sector saw a decline in traffic. From Saturday to Monday, about 2.46 million trips were expected to be made across the country, a drop of 26.8 percent on the previous year.
Despite the decline in travel, transportation service providers arranged measures to meet passengers' diverse needs.
In Beijing, more buses were on standby from downtown areas to outer suburbs, such as Changping, Yanqing and Shunyi, as well as to neighboring counties in Hebei province, in anticipation of a surge in demand. However, many people stayed at home and avoided traveling to outside provinces due to concerns over the current COVID-19 outbreak.
If the New Year travel period posed serious questions for the transportation sector, the upcoming Spring Festival is likely to be an even bigger test for service providers.
In less than two weeks, the Spring Festival travel rush, also known as chunyun, will start on Jan 17 and end on Feb 25.
The Spring Festival falls on Feb 1.
During the seven-day holiday period, transportation authorities will have to arrange the services while taking into consideration requirements to contain COVID-19.
During the 40-day travel rush, the railway network is expected to see 280 million passenger trips, a year-on-year increase of 28.5 percent, according to the national railway operator China State Railway Group.
Railway ticket sales for Spring Festival begin on Monday.