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The Rise and Fall of China’s Long-distance Buses

Xinmin Weekly September 4, 2023

By NewsChina Updated Nov.1

The number of passengers relying on long-distance bus lines, which were indispensable particularly during the Chinese New Year’s travel rush when urban dwellers return home, has been on the decline for years. In Shanghai in 2013, the peak number reached 58,500 daily trips during the seven-day October National Day holiday, and the daily average was 22,000 trips. However, by 2019 the daily average in Shanghai dropped to 10,000. Some said the fall was due to the relocation of labor-intensive industries in Shanghai, while others attributed it to the emergence of high-speed rail and ride sharing which can reach even remote regions. To confront the challenge, long-distance bus companies have turned to tourism. In July, the number of passengers grew by 47 percent nationwide, leading many to believe that long-distance bus lines can still play an important role in public transportation.