HANGZHOU, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- Chinese people are expected to take 8.4 million carpool trips during the upcoming Spring Festival travel rush, Chinese on-demand mobility (ODM) firm Didi forecast on Thursday.
Although railways have long been top choice for the annual migration known as "chunyun" in China, train and air services cannot fully meet the mammoth transportation demand. To meet these needs, Didi launched its ride-sharing service Hitch ahead of last year's "Chunyun."
The month-long travel rush, which starts on Friday this year, is forecast to see 356 million trips via railways, up 9.7 percent year on year.
Didi said on Thursday that the number of carpool trips is forecast to account for 11.8 percent of high-speed railways' passenger volume.
Didi began releasing its "chunyun" data in 2016, when it reported more than 1.9 million Hitch rides.
The service allows users to pair travelling needs not only within a city but also across the country, making it possible for drivers to take passengers when travelling home for the Chinese new year.
Hitch customer Li Xiu, 25, is a white-collar worker in the eastern city of Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang Province. She failed to book railway tickets online to return to Hangzhou from her hometown in Dezhou City, Shandong Province, although she managed to get a ticket to her hometown.
Li said the carpool cost her 480 yuan (69 U.S. dollars) for the 990-km trip, which is about the same as a ticket for the high-speed train.
Didi said most of the carpool bookings were made for trips with a distance between 50 and 1,000 km, while distances beyond 1,000 km accounted for 3 percent of the total.
Liu Qing, president of Didi, said the Hitch service has given passengers an alternative to conventional transportation and helped ease China's heavy transportation pressure during "chunyun."