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Spring Festival travel made easier for motorcyclists
Huang, working in south China's Guangzhou, has traveled hundreds of kilometers on his motorbike every year since 2003, to spend the Chinese new year with his family.
The 670-kilometer ride to Binyang County, in neighbouring Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, took him 14 hours.
"It was cold and tiring," he said. "When I eventually got home, my arms would be numb."
Spring Festival is the most important holiday of family reunion for the Chinese, and many millions will spend the vacation with their families. "Chunyun," the annual travel rush, began Sunday.8 Motorcycles are favored by many migrant workers in Guangdong and Guangxi for the convenience they bring. With motorcycles, they do not have to worry about train tickets, which are usually hard to get during the travel rush. Besides, motorbikes will make life easier for them when they visit friends and relatives back home.
This year, the Guangdong government and railway company has launched a new service for motorists like Huang. Specially arranged cargo trains will carry motorcycles for migrant workers free of charge, while they will catch passenger trains, also specially arranged for them for the holiday travel.
A cargo train carrying Huang's motorcycle left on Tuesday. The high-speed passenger trains for migrant workers will start next Monday. The train from Guangzhou to Guigang city will take him around three plus hours. Once in Guigang, Huang can collect his motorbike and ride the remaining 70 kilometers to Binyang.
For those who still ride motorbikes, local governments have also been trying to offer help. At roadside rest areas, baby rooms have been set up, and every rider is allowed to fill up their tanks once for free.
"I gave my mobile phone, ID and driving license numbers and vehicle registration and I was given a package containing a raincoat, a scarf, a thermos cup and some food," said Wu Congmao, who has ridden home every year for almost a decade.
This year, an unusual cold front, accompanied by freezing winds and sleet, will make the journey even more arduous.
"I will return home no matter how difficult it is," Wu said. "After a year away, the best gift I can give my family is to be with them."