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January 9, 2010

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City may limit cars if roadways jam

In case traffic during the World Expo turns nightmarish, Shanghai is drafting contingency plans that would limit the use of private and official cars in the city on certain days.

One plan, meant to cut weekday traffic by 20 percent, would ban cars according to the last number of a license plate for one day. For example, plates ending in "1" and "6" might be banned on Monday, "2" and "7" on Tuesday, "3" and "8" on Wednesday, and so on through Friday.

If more severe limits are needed, Shanghai might do as Beijing did during the Olympic Games: limit driving on alternate days to cars with odd-numbered plates and those with even-numbered ones.

Officials said they are holding the plans in reserve because they want to leave traffic patterns for the city's 1.6 million cars undisturbed as much as possible.

"The basic idea of the plan is to provide a fast route to the event as well as keeping daily regular traffic in order," said an official with a research team organized by the city government.

The information came yesterday as city traffic authorities unveiled a detailed traffic plan for the six-month-long World Expo which starts on May 1.

The plan aims to ensure that 90 percent of the World Expo's visitors -- now estimated to be 600,000 a day -- reach the site by public transportation like bus and subway.

Authorities also plan to tighten the use of motorcycles and work at construction sites.

The plan was drafted by at least five government departments and agencies including traffic, transport, port and traffic police.

The plan almost forces visitors to the Expo to leave cars at home and take public transportation, because no parking lots for private cars will be set up around a 7-square-kilometer controlled area containing the Expo site and its immediate vicinity. Only vehicles with Expo passes will be allowed into that area.

City visitors should be able to get to the Expo site within 90 minutes via buses, subways and special taxis, said officials with the city's urban and rural construction and transport commission.

Special bus lanes -- 90 kilometers of them, mainly within the Middle Ring Road -- will be set up for buses with Expo passes.

Several big parking lots at the outskirts of the city will be set up for drivers from other provinces. The visitors will be guided to buses and subways.

Up to 50 percent of visitors are expected to reach the site via subways, 40 percent by buses and the rest by other means like boats and taxis.

Officials said yesterday the traffic will face "extreme pressure" in September and October.

A three-level alert system (Yellow, Orange, Red) will show the visitor volume inside the Expo site. The Expo organizer will bar entry to the site if the volume surpasses the capacity.

How visitors can get to the World Expo


Five city subways will arrive near the Expo site, with the still-under construction Line 13 taking passengers to three stations within the site itself, two on the Puxi side and one in Pudong.

Lines 4,6,7,8 and 9 are expected to carry 100,000 riders per hour to nine stations near the Expo site during peak times. The lines will run until midnight. Free shuttle buses will take visitors between stations and the site.

The city's other six subways will run until at least 10:30pm.


Transport hubs, including the city's two airports, two railway stations and the Formula One Circuit, will dispatch 16 direct bus lines to the site, to carry 15 percent of the visitor volume.

Another 10 percent of visitors are expected to take 20 regular bus routes, which will provide extra service for the Expo.

Authorities will also set up six shuttle bus routes, 105 runs a day, taking people in suburban areas to outlying stations of three subways: Line 7, 8 and 9.

In neighboring cities in the Yangtze River Delta region, direct bus routes will set off from 19 tourism bus centers. An estimated 3,800 tourism groups will arrive per day.


The city will have five major P+R (park and ride) lots in Jiading District's Formula One Circuit, Hongqiao Transport Hub and Songjiang District, providing more than 10,000 spaces for private cars.

Drivers from the city and nearby provinces can leave their cars there and take subways to the Expo site.

Drivers from other provinces will be guided to the parking lots by special ramps at expressway entrances to the city.


Some 4,000 high-end World Expo taxis will take visitors into and out of the Expo site, mainly through phone and online reservations.

The taxis will be able to offer service to people inside the Expo area where private cars are off-limits.

The site will be open to other taxis after 9pm each day to pick late-staying visitors.

The city has about 50,000 cabs.


Four boarding areas, or "water gates," alongside the Huangpu River, will enable visitors to take vessels to the Expo site after passing security and ticket checks.

Three docks, located in Pudong's Qichangzhan area, Puxi's Qinhuangdao Road and Shiliupu area, will be reserved for group tours. The fourth, in Pudong's Dongchang Road, will be open to individual travelers.


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