assengers wait in queue to check in at the Beijing Railway Station in Beijing, capital of China, Feb. 9, 2018. (Xinhua/Xing Guangli)
Chinese transportation authorities on Sunday reported a slight drop in the number of trips made during the first 10 days of the annual 40-day Spring Festival travel rush.[Special coverage]
Chinese people made 732 million trips via railway, road, waterway, and plane from Feb. 1 to Feb. 10, down 3.3 percent year on year, according to the Ministry of Transport (MOT).
Spring Festival, or Chinese Lunar New Year, is the most important occasion for family gatherings and falls on Feb. 16 this year. The peak travel period around the festival, also known as "Chunyun," will last for 40 days From Feb. 1 to Mar. 12, as many Chinese people return to their hometowns.
The MOT attributed the slower travel rush in the first 10 days to the fact that most college and university students are already back home for the winter vacation as the festival comes late this year.
In addition, some migrant workers have been allowed to leave before the travel rush started, while more and more people opted to drive home, according to the MOT.
Over 20 percent of intercity travellers are expected to drive during the Spring Festival travel rush this year, according to an AutoNavi report.
Trips made on trains edged up 0.45 percent to 89.3 million, while those by air rose 9.8 percent to reach 16 million, the MOT data showed.
It said 618 million road trips and 8.9 million boat trips were made, down 4.1 and 4.3 percent from a year earlier, respectively.