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Crowds tax transport

OVERCROWDED buses and ferries were the norm yesterday as a soaring number of visitors, policies to attract more people to the Puxi section and the rearrangement of transportation made getting from one side of the river to the other extremely difficult and time consuming.

Meanwhile, Metro Line 13, the free Expo Line, was much less crowded. Most visitors could get a seat even during rush hours. Many visitors interviewed by Shanghai Daily didn't know about the subway line or were not aware it was free.

Attendance reached more than 510,900 by 9:00pm last night, the first weekday to break 500,000. Shanghai Daily saw the plaza at Gate 3 on Bansongyuan Road, often a less crowded gate, filled with long queues. It took at least 30 minutes to enter through the green channel at this gate at 10am.

Queuing was required everywhere - at the pavilions, shops, restaurants, ice-cream vendors, buses and ferry stops and more.

The cross-river buses were especially crowded from 9am to well after 5pm. At 11am, Shanghai Daily witnessed two long lines stretching at least 200 meters in front of the China State Shipbuilding Corporation Pavilion. The two lines, for two shuttles, blocked the passage way and almost extended into the pavilion.

"We went to the Puxi site the first thing in the morning to collect enough stamps for fast access to some pavilions in Pudong," Chen Likai, a local 23-year-old white collar with his parents, told Shanghai Daily.

"I would rather walk, but you can't walk across the river. I hope organizers can make better arrangements for cross-river transportation."

Chen was among the many attracted by the Fast Track Initiative - those who have collected a certain number of stamps in the Puxi site can skip lines for some popular national pavilions. The list includes some of the most crowded pavilions such as China, Saudi Arabia, Germany and more.

The shuttles were dispatched every 5 minutes, but they still couldn't keep up with demand. Visitors had to wait for more than 30 minutes to get on one.

It was about the same in the opposite direction. Shanghai Daily took a shuttle at the Expo Center Station at 4pm. More than 10 buses drove by without stopping - they were already packed. Some passengers were squeezed against the glass doors, making it dangerous when drivers opened them at stops.

Kids on the shuttles suffered from lack of air as they were squeezed in between adults.

Long lines were also witnessed at the ferries, although shorter than the shuttles. The best way to cross the river was the subway. Trains were dispatched every five minutes during rush hours.


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