Holiday travel rush begins in earnest

Local railway stations, tourist attractions and highways have witnessed large crowds of travelers for the week-long National Day holiday.

Large crowds of people have rushed to the city's railway stations, tourist attractions and highways today to mark the beginning of the National Day holiday travel rush.

A total of 485,000 travelers are expected to leave Shanghai today from the city's three major railway stations alone. Hongqiao Railway Station will transport some 260,000 travelers, followed by Shanghai Railway Station which will farewell 140,000 people throughout the day, according to the city's railway authority.

Travelers are mainly heading to Nanjing in neighboring Jiangsu Province, and Hangzhou in Zhejiang, as well as east Anhui and Jiangxi provinces. The authority has added some 50 trains to help get travelers to these destinations today. Another 27 will be added Monday.

Railway authorities suggest local travelers stagger their travel over today and tomorrow since most train tickets have been sold out. Tickets are abundant from Wednesday, he added.

Crowds of people are also expected to flood the city's popular tourist destinations such as the Bund, Lujiazui and the Shanghai Disney Resort, city police said today.

Some 9,000 people braved the rain to visit the Bund last night to check out the lights highlighting the area's architecture, Huangpu police said.

Over 40,000 police officers, firefighters and armed police soldiers were dispatched to the area to ensure the safety of visitors.

"The police have also launched a hi-tech monitoring system to watch the number of visitors real-time," said Cai Lixin, commander of the Huangpu police command center. "The system can calculate the number of visitors accurately, even when they are under umbrellas," he added.

Some 23,000 people gathered at the Lujiazui financial center last night, mainly on the riverside at Binjiang Avenue and near the Oriental Pearl Tower, said Yin Weihua, a senior officer with the Pudong police command center.

The entrances of the avenue and the skywalk to the tower will be closed temporarily once the area is filled with tourists, Yin said. Binjiang Avenue has 10 entrances and exits while the Lujiazui skywalk has 17. Visitors will only be allowed to exit when too many people are gathered in the area to ensure safety, he added.

More people are expected at these areas during the latter part of the week-long holiday when the weather will be clear, Yin said.

Shanghai Disneyland received about 23,000 visitors last night, and 42,000 visited the Shanghai International Tourism and Resorts Zone in Pudong's Chuansha Town, Pudong police said.

Police expected over 60,000 daily visitors will rush to Disneyland between today and Wednesday, Yin said.

Traffic congestion also clogged up local highways and thoroughfares this morning as many citizens drive out of Shanghai for the holiday, the city's traffic police said.

The traffic rush is expected to end this afternoon while another round of congestion will begin between 9am and noon tomorrow. Traffic jams will mainly hit the city's Outer Ring Road, G1501 Expressway, as well as highways to neighboring provinces.

Citizens are advised to check the traffic condition before heading out. Those who plan to drive to Chongming Island are advised to postpone their schedule until between Tuesday and Thursday, or take the traditional ferry service to dodge congestion, police said.

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