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October 23, 2010

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Expo staff prepare for 1.2m crowd

THE World Expo site is gearing up for a possible "super peak" of up to 1.2 million visitors a day this weekend - the last opportunity for ordinary ticket holders to attend the event.

But visitors have been assured that they will still be able to get to the site and enjoy a meal once they arrive.

Transport links, restaurants and security on the Expo site have made preparations to receive 1.2 million visitors both today and tomorrow, Huang Jianzhi, deputy director general of the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination, said yesterday.

All pavilions have been told to prepare for the super peak and asked not to close before the stipulated 10:30pm.

"Despite being fully prepared, we've still felt uncertain about how many people would visit in the final weekend," Huang said.

He said organizers had expected to receive 750,000 last Saturday but more than 1 million came in the end.

More than 800,000 visitors flocked to the site yesterday, the second highest number at the Shanghai Expo. The highest attendance figure, so far, was last Saturday.

Organizers have suggested people avoid visiting at the weekend, pointing out that standard ticket holders can still enter the site in the last week by paying an additional 40 yuan (US$6). They can also exchange a standard ticket for two night tickets during the week, apart from the final two days.

Shanghai's transport authority has said it would limit Metro rider intake around the Expo site if the volume hit 600,000, and allow cabs into the restricted area at 6:30pm, instead of the usual 8pm.

The authority has also organized emergency back-up of 52 Metro trains, 160 buses and 1,000 taxis to help deal with huge visitor numbers.

Inside the site, traffic information will be relayed via mobile phone messages, site broadcasts and LED screens.

Sun Liansheng, director of the Urban Best Practices Area, said the area in Puxi, which is less busy, might offer some respite from the crowds.

Last Saturday, the UBPA area received 350,000 visitors, and the waiting time to popular pavilions was less than three hours.

In other areas, there were 12-hour waits.

Sun suggested visitors watch the light show at the Rhone-Alpes region at 8pm or listen to traditional Spanish music under the open-air Air Tree in front of the Madrid Pavilion, where queues were not so long.

Here are some other tips for visitors:

? The No.6 Shangnan Road, No.7 Changqing Road and No.8 Houtan entrances in Pudong usually have the biggest crowds in the morning. Take the No.4 Bailianjing entrance, also in Pudong, as it's often quieter.

? Take the Metro No.13, or the Expo Special Line, to shuttle between the Pudong and Puxi Expo sites, as there are usually long queues for cross-river bus lines and ferries.

? Watch outdoor performances in the morning and visit pavilions in the evening, when many weary visitors have left the Expo site.


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