Posted : 2013-09-17 17:05
Updated : 2013-09-17 17:05

Mass Chuseok migration begins

By Kim Jae-won

A mass migration for the Chuseok holiday started Tuesday with traffic jams occurring on expressways throughout the nation.

At bus terminals and rail stations, people with gift packages were seen heading for their hometowns to have family reunions and honor their dead ancestors.

About 35 million people are expected to be on the move for the five-day holiday that ends on Sunday, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.

Not just expressways bound for provincial areas but also those leading to Seoul are expected to be clogged with parents traveling to Seoul to meet their offspring in what locals are calling a "reverse holiday migration."

"Traffic jams are likely to be most severe Wednesday. When coming back to Seoul, it will be more crowded on Thursday and Friday," said the ministry in a press release.

According to a survey conducted by the ministry, 83.7 percent of respondents said they will travel to their hometowns in a car, followed by bus with 11.9 percent and train with 3.4 percent. Airplanes and passenger ships marked 0.5 percent each.

It expects more than 400,000 cars to leave Seoul daily during the three days to Thursday.

By highway, the Seoul-Busan Highway is expected to be the busiest as 33.8 percent of people said they would use it. The West Coast Highway came second with 14.2 percent, followed by Yeongdong and Jungbu with 8.3 percent each.

The ministry said it will provide real-time traffic condition information through its two call centers (1333, 1588-2504). Smartphone applications and vehicle messaging systems will also be available.

With clear skies expected on Chuseok, people will be able to see the full moon across the country, according to the Korean Meteorological Administration (KMA). The temperature will range between 18 and 29 degrees Celsius in Seoul.

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