Jan 20 - The world's largest annual human migration reaches its peak in China, three days before the Chinese New Year. Nick Rowlands reports.
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Crowds of people descend on Beijing railway station, ready to return home for Chinese New Year, as the world's largest annual human migration reaches its peak.
China's state news agency reported that authorities are struggling to provide an unprecedented 3.1 billion passenger trips over 40 days.
The Ministry of Railways launched a new online ticketing system last year to help cope with the increased traffic, but not all customers are impressed.
(SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) 30-YEAR-OLD SALESPERSON, LI XINYU, SAYING:
"I tried to log in to the ticket booking system from 12 O'clock. It took me four hours to successfully get a ticket. I am very frustrated that it took four hours. During that time, I could not be away from the computer. If I logged out, there might be problems in logging in next time. So I truly feel it is very difficult to buy a ticket."
Known in China as the Spring Festival, for many people the celebration is the only chance they get to see their families each year.
(SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) 36-YEAR-OLD CALLIGRAPHY TEACHER, GAO SHUYONG, SAYING:
"The Spring Festival is for people to get together with family. We must go to wherever our parents are. That is to say, no matter how far it is, we take the train or bus. I think this year's reform is good, making it easier for people to buy tickets, so we are more willing to go home."
Chinese New Year falls on 23rd January this year.
Nick Rowlands, Reuters.
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