BEIJING, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- Chunyun, the 40-day Spring Festival travel rush, is showing how China's high-speed train services make rides home faster and more comfortable.
Xu Rui, a migrant worker in Guangdong Province, used to spend most of the time traveling home to southwestern Yunnan Province on a lumbering old-fashioned train.
Thanks to the Shanghai-Kunming high-speed railway, the 16-hour-ride was shortened by half. The west-east artery incorporated Yunnan into the high-speed railway network for the first time.
"Traveling home meant sitting through a whole day of an ordeal tougher than a nightshift," Xu said. "But now if I leave in the morning, I can have dinner at home."
The fare is just over 100 yuan (14.5 U.S. dollars) more than the slow train but "totally worth it," said Xu.
Young migrant workers like him care more about time and comfort, he said.
In 2016, over half of the more than 2.7 billion passenger trips on railroads were made on bullet trains.
The grueling experience of crossing China on train -- once cramped, smelly and with interminable queues for the lavatory -- have become a distant memory. The bullet trains are equipped with adjustable seats, efficient toilets, power sockets and some with WiFi.
On some of these trains, passengers can even pre-order meals from a menu of varied bentos, steamed stuffed buns, dumplings and chicken rolls with a delivery from www.ele.me.
Experience prior to the ride is also better as most tickets are now bought online instead of waiting in line at the station. This year, 66 percent of train tickets for chunyun are bought via mobile phones.
Frequency of services is another reason behind the popularity of high speed trains. Bullet trains between Guangzhou and Nanning, capital city of southwestern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, resemble shuttle buses run at 11-minute intervals.
More than 80 percent of big cities will have access to 30,000 kilometers of high-speed track by 2020.
China's rail network, with the world's largest fleet of bullet trains, has the world's best safety record, according to data compiled by the International Union of Railways and the European Railway Agency.
Chinese high-speed trains also score high in punctuality -- 98.8 percent depart on time and 95.4 percent arrive on time in 2015.