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October 18, 2010

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Another bumper day as Expo visitors total tops 65 million

AFTER more than 1 million visitors visited the Shanghai World Expo site on Saturday, another 700,000-plus poured in yesterday, pushing attendance figures to over 65 million.

The Urban Best Practices Area, which had been attracting 15 to 20 percent of Expo visitors, had long queues snaking around pavilions and the total number of pavilion visits exceeded 1 million on Saturday, or over 30 percent of total visits to all the Expo pavilions.

Sun Liansheng, director of the UBPA, said they had not taken measures to control visitor flow before, but railings had now been put up in front of every pavilion to keep the queues in order.

At the UBPA's pavilions, people could usually just walk in at any door. But Chen Jianwei, a media official with the Barcelona Pavilion, said yesterday that they had to establish separate entry and exit doors over the weekend.

Visitors were only allowed in in batches to see the pavilion - only once a group of people had left were the same number of visitors allowed entry. That had not been necessary before, said Chen.

With Expo authorities predicting that about 500,000 visitors would visit today, Sun said they would keep the railings up and even consider extending their length for the next rush of visitors expected next weekend.

The Expo authorities managed to cope with the huge number of visitors over the weekend thanks to the broadcasting system which constantly advised visitors which pavilions had smaller queues and which they should not visit because of too many people.

The Expo Bureau said yesterday that they would ask restaurants inside the Expo site to prepare more food and increase food supplies.

To cut queuing times to get into the Expo site, there will be two security guards at each entry point.

At bus stops over the weekend, there were queues some 400 to 500 meters long. More railings had been put up to control the crowds and they would not be taken down until the Expo is over at the end of the month.

Despite the addition of 20 more buses, visitors had to wait around at least half an hour if they wanted to travel across the Huangpu River, which splits the Expo site into two sections.

To make it easier for visitors to leave the Expo site and get home, the authorities have told all 4,000 Expo taxis that they are not allowed to pick up passengers on the road but must now wait outside the Expo site for visitors leaving and return directly after each trip.

On the Metro, more trains were running at night while some of the 12 stations which connect to the Expo site imposed temporary restrictions on passengers. Yesterday morning, no passengers were allowed into the Yaohua Road station on Line 7 and 8 for safety concerns.

"Everything will be okay as a result of the many measures we have taken," Sun said. He said more measures were under consideration and details would be announced today.


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