SCIO press conference on making every effort to ensure sound transportation services during 2023 Spring Festival

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Xing Huina:

Thank you for your introduction, Vice Minister Xu Chengguang. Now we will open the floor for questions. Please identify the media outlet you represent before raising a question.

China Media Group: 

The 2023 Spring Festival travel rush kicks off tomorrow. Just now, the spokesperson mentioned that this year's Spring Festival travel rush will see a significant increase in passenger flow. Could you provide us with a more specific forecast? Additionally, what measures has the transportation department put in place to ensure smooth and organized travel for the public? Thank you.

Xu Chengguang:

Thanks for the questions. In an earlier briefing, I explained the total amount of passenger traffic and their possible destinations. We predict massive growth in passenger traffic during this year's Spring Festival travel rush, nearly double that of the previous year. However, passenger traffic will only reach 70% of what it was in 2019. In the first place, I want to say that we fully consider the anticipated demands of public transport, maintain bottom-line thinking, and consider extreme scenarios such as huge passenger traffic, large numbers of infections among transportation workers, and a high frequency of safety accidents. We are fully prepared according to the three principles of full preparation, allocation according to demands, and timely responses. We have the ability to provide the public with adequate transportation services. There are four specific measures:

First, we will strictly implement relevant policies. We will follow the related policies and regulations of the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council and carry out measures to optimize pandemic prevention and control and manage COVID-19 as a Class B infectious disease, through well-conceived and precise approaches. We are committed to implementing pandemic prevention and control policies in the railway, road, waterway, civil aviation, and post and delivery sectors to enhance the protection of passengers and people working in such sectors. The special task force set up for the Spring Festival travel rush will coordinate member entities to strengthen guidance and planning. We will explore policies regarding flexible and staggered holidays to relieve the congestion of people visiting families and reduce concentrated travel pressure. For the movement of migrant workers, we will determine a reasonable timetable for temporarily stopping work before the holiday and resuming work afterward for workers to travel home and back to work at various times. For the movement of students, we will adjust and optimize holiday arrangements and guide students to return to school at staggered intervals to avoid heavy traffic. For the movement of tourists, we will set a reasonable ceiling for tourist numbers to ensure orderly movement. 

Second, we will strengthen the coordination of transport capabilities. We will take full advantage of comprehensive transportation, enhance the effective linkage of different transportation modes, and enhance coordination regarding operating time, organization and arrangement of traffic capacity. We will try our best to handle the dispersal of large passenger flows to smooth their "last mile" of travel. For migrant workers and students, who tend to travel at similar times, we will provide team service and door-to-door service to ensure the orderly movement of workers and staggered travel time of students. If conditions allow, point-to-point chartered vehicle services will be arranged. To address people's travel demands for visiting family and shopping at fairs in rural areas, shifts will be increased for passenger routes between urban and rural areas. Operating hours will be extended, and reservation services will be improved. We will do more to ensure transportation services are provided.

Third, we will optimize passenger services. To improve services for the Spring Festival travel rush, we will work hard to refine the travel experience of the public. Information sharing and capacity coordination between different transportation modes will be enhanced to improve passenger transfer efficiency. Ticket services will also be upgraded, and information about passenger transport will be released via multiple channels and in a timely manner. The pre-ticketing service will be available in advance for passengers so they may arrange travel at staggered intervals. We will assess passenger traffic according to changes, increase ticket windows, self-service terminals and security lanes in a timely manner, and promote measures such as online ticketing, e-ticket, and self-service ticket checking to expand paperless and non-contact services. We will improve barrier-free facilities and offer necessary help to passengers in need, including elderly people, children, sick people, people with disabilities and pregnant women. 

Fourth, we will strengthen services for managing the road network. We will reinforce the monitoring of main road networks and city roads, pay close attention to traffic on road networks near provincial boundaries, in popular cities and around important scenic areas, and promptly release information about road conditions and traffic congestion. We will guide drivers to choose their routes, travel time and destinations rationally to avoid peak traffic. We will ensure the operation of expressways and service areas, roads, waterways and locks, and commercial passenger transport services, and ensure services such as refueling, battery charging, dining and restrooms at service areas. 

And in the second place, although the pandemic is not over yet, and some places are still experiencing peak infection levels, many people still wish to return home for the Spring Festival to visit relatives and friends. However, we strongly encourage everyone to make reasonable travel decisions considering their own personal circumstances and those of their family members. This is particularly important for elderly individuals with underlying health conditions and families with expectant mothers, infants and children, as they should minimize travel to lower the risk of infection during the journey for themselves and their family members. People using public transport to travel home for the Spring Festival should strengthen self-protection, wear masks throughout the journey, ensure personal hygiene, and actively avoid traveling while still having symptoms. Thank you.

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