Last week China celebrated both Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day. The eight-day holiday saw record travel numbers around the country and Yunnan was no exception. Travel in the province was at an all-time high.
Millions took advantage of time off work to visit family or go on vacation — often by car. Yunnan's rapidly growing infatuation with personal vehicle ownership combined with the temporary suspension of all highway tolls led more drivers than ever to take to the road. Yunnan Information News is reporting that while all means of transportation experienced year-on-year growth, travel by car in Yunnan doubled.
During the holiday an estimated 3.8 million privately owned cars plied Yunnan's four largest highways — the 108, 213, 320 and 324. Estimates for traffic volumes on the dozens of smaller public roads in the province have yet to be released.
Yunnan's major traffic arteries were policed by 2,750 patrol cars and authorities handed out more than 10,000 fines. In efforts to prevent gridlock 7,300 road management workers were on duty throughout the province to handle problems.
Exacerbating traffic management, an additional 14,000 long-distance buses were added to augment the usual fleet of 285,000. An eye-popping 11 million people bought bus tickets last week in Yunnan — up ten percent from the same time last year.
Kunming Changshui International Airport was flooded with travelers as well. Over the holiday Kunming's new airport accommodated 469,000 customers on 3,950 flights. Airport officials told Yunnan Information News that 89 percent of flights were on time.
Yesterday was the final day of Golden Week and also the busiest. Changshui Airport set a record with 603 flights landing or taking off in a 24-hour period — roughly one flight arriving or departing every two-and-a-half minutes. Trains carried 275,000 passengers along Yunnan's rails while 1.47 million people rode long-distance buses, according to a Yunnan Net report.
Despite the millions of people journeying by cars and buses around the province, the Yunnan Highway Management Bureau reported only three major accidents and four fatalities. Drivers in Yunnan were seemingly safer than those in the rest of the country as there were 794 driving-related deaths nationwide over Golden Week.
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