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Fast lane rules changed

NEW rules were introduced by the Expo organizer yesterday to tighten green-channel access, increase wheelchair deposits and limit the number of Expo passports each visitor can get stamped at pavilions.

The long-awaited new green channel rules for all pavilions stipulate that only people over 75 years and physically challenged (only crippled) can get fast access to pavilions. Only one person can accompany them.

The rules will be applied universally by all pavilions, putting an end to arguments about different VIP practices at various pavilions.

Babies in prams and pregnant women were ruled out of the new rule for safety reasons because the organizer did not want to encourage children under three years old and pregnant women on the Expo site in hot weather, said Qian Bojin, director of the Expo site's Visitor Service Center.

Most foreign pavilions said they had yet to receive the rules but would comply. Pavilions including Australia, Russia, United Kingdom and Italy still allow babies in prams and pregnant women to use green channels.

The organizer will also raise the deposit on wheelchairs from 200 yuan to 500 yuan (US$73.75) from July 5 to reduce the high loss rate.

Nearly 10 percent of more than 3,500 wheelchairs, worth about 1,000 yuan each, have disappeared since the Expo opened, said Xu Zuhua, deputy director of the center.

The organizer also restricted each visitor to no more than five souvenir passports stamped at Expo pavilions in response to complaints that many visitors seemed to be visiting only for the stamps.

Some pavilions, including Norway and Sweden, have stopped the stamping but the organizer hopes to persuade them to resume the service.

In the case of more than 50 paths carved out by visitors across pristine grassland, the organizer has decided to build them into walkways because they were obviously needed, Hong added.

The organizer will ensure all pavilions are open until 10:30pm after some were found closing early due to slow night patronage.

It will install more sunshades and fans and prepare more food and beverage for the coming hot summer weather.


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