SEOUL, Sept. 23 (Yonhap) — The population movement during this year’s Chuseok holiday period increased 5 percent from a year earlier, Seoul’s transport ministry said Thursday, apparently due to eased virus curbs for family gatherings.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said a total of 32.76 million people traveled between Friday and Wednesday to celebrate Chuseok, the Korean harvest celebration. Daily average population movement reached 5.46 million during that period, up 5.1 percent from a year earlier.
South Koreans usually travel to their hometowns for family gatherings and visit their ancestors’ graves during Chuseok. Despite concerns of the virus spreading, health authorities allowed family gatherings of up to eight people for this year’s Chuseok on the condition that four of them are fully vaccinated.
Daily average expressway traffic volume reached 4.79 million during the six-day period, up 9.2 percent from a year earlier, as more people opted to travel with their own cars amid the pandemic.
The number of public transport users also increased during this year’s holiday period, with railways topping the list with 1.63 million people, up 9.6 percent from a year earlier. More than 661,000 people used air transport, up 25 percent from a year ago, while 636,000 people traveled on express buses, up 33.6 percent from a year earlier, during the holiday period, the ministry data showed.
With more travelers, highway toll fee and rest stop revenues also increased this year.
According to data from Korea Expressway Corp., the daily average toll fee revenue during the Chuseok holiday period reached 13.2 billion won (US$11.26 million), up 9.2 percent from a year ago. The daily average revenue from rest stops and gas stations stood at 5 billion won and 11.9 billion won during the holiday period, up 39.1 percent and up 40.9 percent from a year earlier, respectively.
There were an average of 338 car accidents daily during this year’s Chuseok holiday period, down 29.4 percent from a year earlier. The daily average number of deaths and injuries from car accidents during the holiday period also declined 23.7 percent and 42.4 percent, respectively.