Pro­ject helps jour­neys home for hol­i­days

China Daily (Canada) - - BUSINESS - By MENGJING mengjing@chi­

The Spring Fes­ti­val travel rush in China is dubbed the world’s largest an­nual mi­gra­tion, with more 2.9 bil­lion trips be­ing made as peo­ple re­unite with fam­i­lies to cel­e­brate the Lu­narNewYear.

The urge to head home, how­ever, puts ahuges­trainon pub­lic trans­port, mak­ing­train tick­ets­from­c­i­tiesto­less­de­vel­ope­dre­gion­s­someof the­most hard-to-get items.

But with this in mind, a non-profit pro­ject called Shun­fengche is now in its fifth year of­fer­ing a so­lu­tion for many.

Roughly trans­lated as “hitch­hik­ing”, Shun­fengche matches car own­ers who are will­ing to of­fer a free ride with those need­ing a lift, based on de­par­ture and desti­na­tion via a short mes­sage ser­vice-based plat­form.

Wang Yong, the sec­re­tarygen­eral of Brand China In­dus­try Union, launched the pro­ject in2012 and says it has helped around 100,000 peo­ple since then.

Wang has been pro­mot­ing car­pool­ing in Bei­jing since 1998 as an ef­fec­tive way to re­lieve traf­fic con­ges­tion and re­duce air pol­lu­tion, gen­er­ated by China’s 167 mil­lion pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cles.

“Many warm-hearted car own­ers are gen­er­ous enough to of­fer an empty seat to oth­ers — and they need a plat­form to help reach those­who need help,” he said.

Any­one who wants to of­fer a free ride or need a ride can send “66” in a short mes­sage to 1066958800, and fol­low the in­struc­tions to find a match, or sim­ply fol­low Shun­fengche’s ac­counts onWeChat.

Par­tic­i­pants in the hitch­hik­ing pro­ject get free ca­su­alty ac­ci­dent in­sur­ance, too, with cov­er­age of up to 100,000 yuan ($15,200), spon­sored by the Bei­jing bureau of the in­sur­ance ma­jor China Life.


Wang said many of the ride-call­ing In­ter­net firms, such as Didi Kuaidi and Uber, have also jumped in to of­fer sim­i­lar ser­vices to help peo­ple geth­omevia car shar­ing, al­though their ser­vices are not free with pas­sen­gers need­ing to split gaso­line costs with the driv­ers.

Ac­cord­ing to sta­tis­tics from Didi Kuaidi, China’s largest mo­bile-based carhail­ing plat­form, it has re­ceived 580,000 cross-city car­pool­ing re­quests for the Spring Fes­ti­val travel rush, the long­est recorded a 3,577kilo­me­ter jour­ney from Sanya in Hainan prov­ince to Shenyang in Liaon­ing prov­ince.

But the com­pe­ti­tion doesn’t both­erWang.

“We are happy to see more and more com­pa­nies jump­ing in to of­fer sim­i­lar ser­vices.

“Suc­cess doesn’t mean we help as­many peo­ple as pos­si­ble. For us, if one day car­pool­ing be­comes an ev­ery­day be­hav­ior in peo­ple’s life, I’d call it suc­cess.”

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