Brother Public Transit’s trip home

| February 8th, 2013

A 27-year-old Shandong man is being called "Brother Public Transportation" after he returned home from Hangzhou to Shandong on public transportation, riding 35 bus routes over 660 kilometers. The story picked up interest as he chronicled his travels on Weibo. Beijing Morning Post wrote an article about him on August 5 that was picked up by China Daily Here it is:

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Public Transportation Brother’s Unconventional Chun Yun

From Hangzhou, Zhejiang to Linyi, Shandong, over 660 kilometers, a 27-year-old Shandong man named Xu Zhengguo used public buses to make his way back home. From start to finish, he spent seven days on a trip spanning three provinces and rode on 35 different buses. This unusual trip home attracted internet users’ attention, and he was "worshipped" as "Brother Public Transportation"

Preparation: One Week + A Thick Map + Searching Route Online

Xu Zhengguo is from Linyi, Shandong. He attended Hangzhou University. After graduating, he and a friend started an e-commerce business in Hangzhou. Why did he take the bus to return home? He said that for one thing, train tickets are hard to buy, and secondly, he envies people who cycle or hitchhike to travel and see the world, so he wanted to use the means of public transportation, to accomplish a seemingly impossible mission, and feel the power of experiencing this incredible task.

Saying it is easy, but doing it is hard. To accomplish this mission, Xu Zhengguo spent a week planning his route. "On the internet, I found each city’s public transit map and read with dizzy and dazed eyes," Xu Zhengguo said. In order to prevent a problem, he also bought a thick map of China. He originally planned on spending 10 days returning home.

Starting Out: Public Transit + Walking + Only One Time Hitchhiking

On the afternoon of December 27, Xu Zhengguo, with a thick route map in his front pocket and his luggage on his back, started out. This "internet businessman" broadcasted the progress of his trip home on his Weibo. Xu Zhengguo said the trip was very smooth. "South China’s transportation is very developed. There is a lot of transportation to villages and towns. You can basically get anywhere." Xu Zhengguo said this journey also allowed him to feel that this country’s transportation has developed very quickly.

After that, this good luck only lasted for two days. After crossing the Yangtze River, his road home turned bumpy. Because the public bus routes were sparse and not connected, he often had to walk. "When the routes weren’t connected, I would walk over 10 miles in a day!" he said. This part of the trip was harder than he imagined.

On Weibo, Xu Zhengguo recorded his difficulties drip by drip: "One step, and I’m always walking but not moving," "My knee bone is breaking down," "I’m tired and want to sleep, I’m really over doing this public transit thing, Right now I don’t know where I am." …

This trip, aside from the hardships, also allowed Xu Zhengguo to have a lot of different emotions. "On the fourth day, from Danyang to Zhenjiang, between the border of these two cities, I had to walk eight kilometers. Because it was already dark, I wanted to hitch a ride, but dozens of cars went by without stopping. Later, a big truck stopped for me. From the start, I was worried about my safety, but after a bit of talking with the driver, I discovered he is actually an extremely kind-hearted man," Xu Zhengguo said. That night at the inn, he kept thinking about the subtle relationships between strangers.

"At the beginning, I was angry that society was too cold, but later, I feel that there is also a lot of kindness. I also learned to empathize with other people," he said.

Returning Home: 7 Days + 140 Yuan + 35 Bus Routes

After sleeping at cheap hotels for less than 100 yuan a night, eating at restaurants on the side of the road, endlessly rushing about at bus stations for seven days, he arrived at his home in Linyi, Shandong on the afternoon of February 2. "This kind of trip gave me so much! It was a splendid experience. It ravaged my body. It’s something that should definitely be done once in a lifetime," he wrote on Weibo in summary.

On this trip, Xu Zhengguo rode on 35 different bus routes and spent a little bit over 140 yuan on bus tickets. Also, on lodging and eating, he spent over 400 yuan. It wasn’t much cheaper than driving or flying an airplane. His "Legendary Trip Home" attracted a lot of internet discussions, and a lot of netizens admired his course.

7 Comments | Leave a comment | Comment feed

  1. China Newz says:

    He must have a bad back from that trip. Can’t imagine sitting on public transportation for 35 routes or 7 days. Hope he stocked up on Advil before his trip.

  2. voiceofhomer says:

    “It’s something that should definitely be done once in a lifetime,”

    You betcha, from Dalian to Guangzhou was the greatest trip I’ve ever had done in China last year, just like that of “Brother Public Transportation” trip but in a more mixed mode of transportation.

    My 93 day trip started from my touch down in Shanghai airport then by boat to Dalian, by bus to Chengde, by bus to Tianjin, by train to Inner Mongolia, by train to BJ, by train to Xi’an, by air to Chengdu, by train to Shenzhen, by bus to Guangzhou, by speed boat to HK , and after a 3 day layover by boat to Macau.

    Lost all my US $dollars, went to the Main Gates in Macau then back in mainland China again for the 2nd leg of my trip.

    By bus to Taishan, by bus to many cities in Guangdong, by train to Haikou area and by bus to Sanya for a 2 week stay.

    May be it was not in this exact order but the trip was great in any order.

    And good for you “Brother Public Transportation”.

  3. voiceofhomer says:

    The death toll from a stampede in a train station rose to 36 on Monday in a northern India city where millions of devotees had gathered for a Hindu festival that is one of the world’s largest religious gatherings.

    At least 36 other pilgrims were injured in the crush in the city of Allahabad, medical superintendent Dr. P. Padmakar of the main state-run hospital said. Padmakar said 23 of the dead were women.

    Tens of thousands of people were in the city’s main rail station waiting to board a train when railway officials announced a last-minute change in the platform, forcing people to rush there, eyewitnesses said.

    They said police stopped the throng from crowding onto a footbridge and had to use batons to stop the crowds from surging forward.
    ——————————————————————————————————————————————
    ====================================================

    China is bad but this is animal country, where people have no life to live but to swim in shitty waters.

    Don’t ever ride on the India trains, you will get killed a 101 ways and nobody will care.

  4. Daniel says:

    This is my usual strategy for getting around in China, nothing unusual at all. I’ve been to all these places above, and many smaller county cities inbetween. You don’t even need to pre-plan, just take the next bus in the right direction after arriving somewhere. There may only be a few buses a day between large cities in different provinces, but buses to adjacent counties leave every 5-10 minutes.

    Sometimes you even save distance by avoiding the routes between large cities which often don’t follow a straight line (because the buses have an agreement to only travel on specific toll roads I think). To save more time, get off the bus at a junction outside the city and wait for the next bus in the right direction (if you can read Chinese).

    Another mistake many people in China make is travelling from A -> B with the idea of A -> Major City in province same province as A -> Major City in same province as B -> B, which also adds a lot of distance, because the 4 cities are unlikely to all be in a line.

    For every bus between Suzhou and Linyi, there are a hundred times more just going in that general direction. I would have tried to get to Jinjiang first, then Huai‘an, then via Xinyi to Linyi, but the trick is to be more flexible than that. The fact that it took the write 5 days is quite ridiculous, it’s 15 hours at most.

    Another funny example was travelling from Zhouzhuang to Xitang, two famous tourist towns in different provinces but only about 20km apart. One guy I knew took the bus back to Suzhou, then to Jiaxing then to Xitang, 150km and about 4 hours. I solved it by travelling via a small town in between them, on the Zhejiang-Jiangsu border, so it took two journeys of ten minutes each. I even got to see some really weird police post and strange buddhist temple on the border. :-)

    • Daniel says:

      Another trip that comes to mind was from my wife’s hometown Sihong(泗洪)-〉Suzhou(宿州)-〉Yongcheng(永城)-〉Bozhou(亳州)-〉Xuchang(许昌)-〉Dengfeng(登封)-〉Luoyang(洛阳). but that was deliberate because I got to a stop to see lots of interesting Three Kingdoms sites.

      I also stopped at a village between Xuchang and Dengfeng because they said there was a tomb of Hua Tuo, a famous doctor in Chinese history. It was in the middle of a forest and after arriving I was told that I was the first foreigner to ever visit. I don’t think you can get this kind of experience just sticking to cities and motorways.

  5. Nippon says:

    Homer is a 8chi

  6. voiceofhomer says:

    “One of Britain’s leading academic institutions, the London School of Economics, is accusing the BBC of putting students at risk by using them as cover for a covert reporting trips” to China and NK.

    SoBs.

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