Gridlock In China As Tolls Are Waived For Holiday

Motorists in China endured rush hour gridlock hell on Sunday as the first day of China’s eight-day autumn holiday kicked in.

State-run media say more than 85 million travelers hit the roads on Sunday with many drivers taking advantage of a new policy that waives the toll on expressways during holiday periods. The dropping of the toll resulted in road traffic rising by 13 percent compared with last year’s holiday, reports Xinhua.

The result of toll-free travel was scenes of gridlock and mass congestion with several drivers using the hard shoulder and emergency lanes to get ahead.

Sunday marked the start of the Mid-Autumn Festival. This eight-day celebration will see families coming together to celebrate a series of lunar festivities with meals and traditional desserts such as mooncakes. As the Chinese travel to connect with their families, officials in the country have already estimated there will be 740 million trips made throughout the holiday.

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Pictures from the roads show thousands of slowly moving or even parked cars queuing into the distance, with some motorists standing outside their cars as they wait for movement. Some jams extended as much as six miles to a toll gate, according to Xinhua, and drivers informed the site that it was only possible to drive at about 18 to 24 miles per hour in flowing traffic.

Still, not everybody got down about the gridlock: Motorists were snapped spending the time waiting walking their dogs, playing impromptu games of tennis, and doing push-ups, according to Tea Leaf Nation, a blog that focuses on China.

However, many Chinese feel the dropping of tolls will prove unsustainable, roadside tennis or not.