BEIJING, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- For microblogger "Rangrang2010", driving along the expressway on her way home for the National Day holiday took far too long.
"I started at 4 o'clock in the morning on Sept. 30, but the three-hour journey took me about six hours after my car snailed among the sporadic accidents along the car-laden expressway",the 24-year-old complained in a microblog piece.
Rangrang2010 was one of the 647 million drivers and passengers who flocked to the country's highways to go home or to tourist spots for the eight-day national holiday running from Sept.30 to Oct.7. The break combined both the National Day holiday and the Mid-Autumn Festival, traditionally a time for family reunions.
On Sept.30 when Rangrang2010 left Beijing for home in neighboring Hebei province, 24 expressways witnessed traffic congestion in 16 provinces. The traffic claimed a total of 794 lives during the eight days.
Some people blamed country's new policy that made most expressways toll free for passenger cars under seven seats during the 8-day holiday.
In August, the government decided to lift road tolls for passenger cars driving on highways during major Chinese holidays in a bid to boost tourism consumption.
The toll free policy will exempt the public of around 20 billion yuan (3.15 billion U.S. dollars) during the "Golden Week", estimated Peng Zhizhong, professor in logistics management with Shandong University.
The road toll exemption can boost untapped tourism enthusiasm, said Zhang Weiguo, economics professor with Shandong Academy of Social Sciences.
But along with Rangrang2010, thousands of passengers told of their "miserable" stories online.
"Xiaoaieluosi" said in his Sina Weibo account that the toll exemption was generally beneficial, but limited vacation options caused traffic pressures.
Chinese people enjoy week-long vacations mainly on traditional holidays, including the Spring Festival and National Day holiday.
Heavy traffic resulted from a lack of an efficient vacation-with-pay system, said Wang Degang, professor in tourism management with Shandong University. "They have no choice," said Wang.
Authorities should decentralize concentrated holidays to alleviate the mounting demand for tourism, said Lou Jiajun, professor in tourism with East China Normal University.
His opinion is shared by Jia Yuanhua, transportation professor with Beijing Jiaotong University. He told China National Radio that favorable expressway policies should be extended to working days.
Ma Guangyuan, an economics analyst, echoed this and said that expressway toll fees should be lowered, and that toll charging years could be prolonged in order to meet high expressway maintenance expenditures.
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 Oct.4, to help ease the congestion.