Railway authorities across China are redoubling efforts to improve their contactless services during chunyun, or the Spring Festival travel rush, to ensure passengers travel safely and at ease.
As the country encourages people to stay put during the festival, a big drop in railway passenger volume duringchunyunhas been expected. Figures from the China State Railway Group, the national railway operator, showed the first three days of this year'schunyunsaw only a quarter of the railway trips during the same period last year.
Despite the relatively low passenger flow, railway authorities are not letting up in implementing strict epidemic prevention measures.
Precautionary measures being taken include checking the body temperature of passengers, guiding passengers to wear face masks during the whole journey, and strengthening disinfection and ventilation in stations and train carriages.
Improving contactless services to reduce the risk of spread of the epidemic has become a focus of the work. Eligible passengers are guided to use self-service check-in gates via identity certificate when entering railway stations and boarding trains to avoid having to present a train ticket. In the waiting room, passengers are guided to sit apart from each other. Passengers are advised to stay in their seats as much as possible and order meals online or by scanning QR codes during the journey. Staff workers will also make sure passengers maintain distance when leaving the stations.
Some railway stations have gone further in this aspect. Yinchuan Railway Station, for example, has added some luggage delivery lockers to the waiting room, enabling passengers in need to post their luggage home on their own to reduce contact with handlers and lighten the carry-on load. And Nanjing South Railway Station has installed smart meal pickup counters, which allow arriving passengers to pick up food they have ordered in advance via smartphone.