China's 8-day holiday leaves thousands miserable



Beijing: China's eight-day long holiday last week may have raked up billions of dollars of business to spur much needed domestic consumption but traffic gridlocks and chaos at tourist spots due to large crowds left many Chinese "miserable".

"I started at 4 o'clock in the morning on September 30, but the three-hour journey took me about six hours after my car snailed among the sporadic accidents along the car-laden expressway", a 24-year-old microblogger 'Rangrang2010' complained in his blog.

Besides him, thousands of passengers told of their "miserable" stories online, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

About 647 million drivers and passengers flocked the country's highways to go home or to tourist spots for the eight-day national holiday running from September 30 to October 7.

The break combined both the National Day holiday and the Mid-Autumn Festival traditionally a time for family reunions, was also aimed at spurring the domestic consumption in China, which stood around 36 per cent and dependent less on declining exports.

State television CCTV said despite mass complaints about traffic and poor arrangements at the tourist sites where millions flocked, the holiday ended raking up over USD 28 billion in business, which could prompt officials to think more of such methods to spend more so that China could arrest the slow down of the economy.

The World Bank has said China's GDP is set to decline from 9.3 per cent last year to 7.7 per cent due to decline in exports and global economic slow down. Traffic gridlocks were experienced in 24 expressways in 16 provinces and 794 were killed in road accidents during the eight days.

Some people blamed country's new policy that made most expressways toll-free for passenger cars under seven seats.

The toll-free policy will exempt the public of around USD 3.15 billion during the "Golden Week", Peng Zhizhong, professor in logistics management with Shandong University said.

This was the first time China had to cope with such heavy traffic on its expressways.

To ease the traffic jams, authorities stopped collecting electric tickets at toll gates from October 4, to help ease the congestion.

PTI