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Motorcycle Congestion as Migrant Workers Head Home for Chine

7 years ago109 views

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With trains, buses and planes filled ahead of the Chinese New Year, many rural migrants working in China's southeastern factory hub are making the long journey home by motorbike - some face an arduous journey of hundreds of miles.

The world's largest annual human migration is in full swing as hundreds of millions of Chinese make the long journey home for the Lunar New Year, which falls on February 3rd.

Trains, buses and planes are packed, and tickets are hard to come by as authorities struggle to cater for an anticipated 2.56 billion passenger trips over 40 days.

[Unidentified Traveler]:
"It's not a good time to get train tickets now, so the only other option would be to travel by coach. The coach tickets would cost 75 to 90 U.S. dollars."

Hundreds of thousands of rural migrant workers are making their way home on motorbikes.

Zhaoqing (pron: jaow-ching) has a motorcycle "army" of up to 8,000 a day passing through it -- it links Guangzhou and the rural provinces of Hunan, Guangxi (pron: gwang-see) and Jiangxi (pron: jeeang-suh).

Wang Qiang (pron: wang cheeang) is making the seven-hour journey home with a group of friends from his village.

[Wang Qiang, Migrant Worker]:
"It's definitely cheaper to make the journey by motorcycle."

Through wind and freezing rain, many with small children strapped on board are heading for their home villages.

To accommodate them, local authorities have set up a number of stations where cyclists can stop, repair their bikes and take a much needed break to prevent accidents.

[Gan Shuibo, Zhoaqing City Traffic Police]:
"Every year during the Spring Festival migration, around 200,000 people pass through our district here in Zhaoqing on motorcycles."

This year, the number of passengers traveling in China over the New Year period is expected to increase by over 11 percent.