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Beijing gears up for returning residents

2013-02-17 16:39 Global Times     Web Editor: yaolan comment
A long line of passengers waits patiently for a cab at Beijing West Railway Station Saturday. Photo: Li Hao/GT

A long line of passengers waits patiently for a cab at Beijing West Railway Station Saturday. Photo: Li Hao/GT

The city's transportation authorities are on high alert to tackle high passenger flows at train stations and airports as Beijing residents flood back at the end of the Spring Festival.

Around 170,000 passengers returned through Beijing West Railway Station Friday, and the station expects to see similar numbers returning in the coming days, the station said Saturday.

Beijing Railway Station and Beijing South Railway Station handled 120,000 and 75,000 passengers Friday. The figures are higher than in previous years, station staff said. In 2012, at the end of the Spring Festival, the daily peak was 120,000 at the West Station. South Station saw passenger numbers rise 30 percent from last year.

The West Railway Station has introduced measures to help passengers exit the concourse speedily.

An employee surnamed Wang, from the administration office of Beijing West Railway Station, said that 10 night bus lines have been added since Wednesday for passengers who arrive late at night.

"The night buses are available from 11 pm to 5 am," he said. There are also shuttle buses to transfer passengers to other mainline stations in the capital.

The newly opened subway connection has also helped to smooth passenger flows.

"Around 100,000 passengers took the subway at the station Friday, three times more than normal days," Wang said.

Conditions at the West Railway Saturday appeared good, despite the long lines waiting for cabs.

A passenger surnamed Li from Henan Province said he feels the station is not as crowded as during the same period last year.

"This year, the atmosphere at the station feels quite calm," he said. Li welcomed the measures to control passenger flows, but said it was impossible to avoid congested stations.

"We can't avoid it if happens," he said.

An employee surnamed Chai from Beijing South Railway Station also said that they have opened up all exits to help passengers make a speedy exit.

"We sent more staff to the station as well," she said.

Beijing Capital International Airport said passenger numbers have risen since Friday, and it has made 1,200 new car parking spaces available, an airport press release said Saturday. The airport was predicted to handle 1,573 flights and 240,000 passengers Saturday.

The amount of vehicles that accessed the Beijing section of the Beijing to Tibet Highway exceeded 200,000 Friday, resulting in the highway being the busiest in town, the Beijing Morning Post reported Saturday.

High passenger flows are expected to last until March 1, according to the Beijing commission of transport.

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