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July 20, 2011

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'Exploding' glass doors latest Metro safety fear

FOLLOWING safety concerns over Metro escalators, passenger confidence has taken another dent after two glass platform barriers "exploded" within days of each other.

Metro management said it will now test all these sliding shields installed along many platforms as a safety measure.

Yesterday about 5am, a barrier suddenly exploded into thousands of pieces at Metro Line 10's Laoximen Station. The platform was quiet at the time and no one was injured.

An identical shield also shattered last Thursday morning at Metro Line 11's Taopu Xincun Station. Again, no one was injured, although passengers were startled.

Earlier this month, the Shanghai Metro removed 22 OTIS escalators from service after a fatal accident on the same model in Beijing.

"First it's unsafe escalator fears and then it's exploding screen gates," said Li Zisen, a 25-year-old local business consultant who travels daily on the Metro. "What next for commuters?"

"We won't always be lucky like we were with these incidents, the next time there could be a tragedy," Li added.

He urged the Metro operator to come up with a clear timetable to either replace or repair glass doors failing safety tests.

Shanghai Shentong Group told Shanghai Daily they are conducting safety inspections on all glass barriers.

Li said any substandard doors should be removed from service immediately and urged the operator to keep the public informed.

"Barriers found to have risks should be clearly marked and cordoned off if they can't be replaced immediately.

And the screen gate producer should be named and punished, he added.

Metro management said the barriers are made from safety glass designed to shatter into small pieces, reducing the likelihood of injuries.


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