The railway ferry service linking Guangdong and Hainan will open to passengers starting from the Spring Festival period.
The passenger service will open only to buses and individual travelers in the early stages.
It is still not known when the ferry will start taking passenger trains.
The Yuehaitie 1, a train ferry operating across the 24-kilometer Qiongzhou Straits, has a 630-seat passenger cabin.
When full service is available, the ferry has a capacity to accommodate more than 1,300 passengers, including 1,200 train passengers and 120 bus passengers.
The ferry began cargo service in March in a historic launch of a railway ferry link between the two provinces, which are separated by the straits.
The Yuehai Railway, which includes a 139-kilometer railroad from Zhanjiang to Hai'an in Guangdong and the 24-kilometer cross-straits ferry service from Hai'an to Haikou in Hainan Province, serves as an economic and speedy link between the two provinces.
The Yuehaitie 1 has ferried about 180,000 tons of goods across the straits since March.
The rail link has reduced freight costs, according to reports.
(Shenzhen Daily December 12, 2003)