Motorcycles the Vehicle of Choice to Get Home for Spring Festival

The roads will be mighty busy this week

This week, 250 million of China’s migrant workers are united in a common goal: getting home for Spring Festival. Train tickets were sold-out weeks ago, so those unable to afford or purchase a ticket in-time must find alternative means of transport, such as a motorcycle.

A more economical, albeit much slower mode of transportation, the motorcycle has become the vehicle of choice for the armies of migrant workers riding with their wives, and often young children sandwiched between them, to get home for the holidays. Scores of riders have been flooding the highways since February 4, armed with gloves and plastic wrappers around their feet to fend off the winter cold.

This year, the scale of the migration is historic. According to estimates by Guangdong’s traffic department, a city with more than three million migrant workers, the number of migrant workers riding home this year is expected to reach 600,000.

Mr Liang, a migrant worker in Shunde, a district of Foshan, was among the motorcycle army. He said riding home on a motorcycle saved him more than RMB 500 compared with the taking the bus, never mind the train.

China’s army of motorcycles dates back to the 1990s, when many migrant workers from Guangxi and Guizhou bought their first motorcycles.  But, ride with caution; this month alone, there have been 23 reported motorcycle accidents with five deaths and 12 injuries in Zhaoqing, Yunfu and Meizhou.

Below are some images of the motorcycle army:





Natalie Wang

Journalist based in Hong Kong, writes about China and wine.