Wed, January 18, 2012
China > Mainland > Spring Festival travel peak 2012

Web China: Online carpooling eases pain of Spring Festival travel rush

2012-01-17 08:49:59 GMT2012-01-17 16:49:59(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

BEIJING, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- The annual Spring Festival travel rush, which lasts for nearly a month, is one of the most chaotic times of the year for China's public transportation. While some people opt to take their own vehicles to make the journey home to see their families, others have chosen to share their wheels with others to lighten the stress of holiday travel.

38-year-old Wang Yong and four of his friends started a campaign to connect carpoolers on Sina Weibo, a popular Chinese microblogging service. Wang and his friends use their microblog to ask people who are going on long drives and are willing to take on extra passengers to post their schedules, maps and available seats. People who don't have rides are also free to post requests.

The campaign's organizers have also secured 2,012 accident insurance shares, donated by a local insurance company, according to a notice posted on the campaign microblog.

"People will have an easier time carpooling, as it is based on mutual trust and kindness. It will be much better with the support offered by the law firm and insurance company," said Zhao Pu, a television host and one of the campaign's organizers, on his own microblog.

The microblog has received a great deal of attention, resulting in excess demand for rides, Zhao said on his microblog, imploring car owners to offer their help.

Many people have difficulty securing train tickets or finding other ways to make it home during the holiday, as hundreds of millions of people fight to purchase a limited number of tickets. Migrant workers, who make up the bulk of holiday travelers, have the hardest time, as they often do not have the money or means to purchase tickets.

"I would feel guilty if my car seats were still vacant while many people wait anxiously during the freezing winter night," said Wang, who is also secretary-general of the Brand China Industry Union (BCIU).

"Sharing is a natural act. It is simple for each car driver to offer a lift," said Wang.

Wang estimates that he has given rides to over 10,000 people over the last 13 years, during which time he has gone through two vehicles.

"I feel warm when I remember getting a lift from one of my classmates when I went home years ago. This simple act can warm someone for their whole life," said Wang, who grew up in a village in central China's Hunan province.

"Small acts of kindness like carpooling can offer great joy to all those involved, as well as ease pressure on railways during the travel rush," said Wang. "However, we still have a long way to go in making carpooling more trustworthy, safe and systematic."

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