The Spring Festival travel rush started over the weekend, and it's estimated 2.9 billion trips will be made on the public transport system during the rush. For the first time in history, travellers will be able to head home by sharing cars with strangers.
Zhang Yu lives in Shanghai and as usual is planning to visit some cities nearby during the Spring Festival holiday. This time he may have company, however, as he's found a new service to give rides to people traveling for the holidays.
"It would be good if I can share my car to take people home and earn some money to pay for the gas. I'm not expecting a lot of money,"
"If the money can cover 80 percent of the gasoline costs I'd be very happy," said Zhang Yu, a car owner.
The service has been rolled out by China's biggest car-pooling app Didi Chuxing. It allows people to post and book their hitchhiking trips up to 30 days ahead of their departure.
Drivers and passengers choose each other on Didi's platform. The costs for short-distance trips such as from Shanghai to Suzhou are slightly higher than that of a high-speed railway ticket, but it's cheaper for longer distance trips, say from Shanghai to Beijing. The company is very optimistic about its idea.
"In the past people would buy train or plane tickets or bus tickets. But what if they are all sold out? We providing a new solution this year. We believe more and more people will use our service when the rush starts on Sunday,"
"So far, most of the orders are from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and some big second-tier cities," said Wang Mingze from Didi Chuxing. But will passengers really pay for this new service?
"I will try to buy train ticket first, but if there's none left, I'll try it out."
"I think it's a bit awkward to share a car with a stranger. If there were some safety issues or arguments, that wouldn't be good."
The Ministry of Communication says it welcomes car-sharing models for the Spring Festival travel rush as long as internet platforms provide it without charge to either drivers or passengers.