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November 2, 2010

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Many booths to close

MOST of the 1,000-plus blue-colored Expo information booths in the streets closed for the last time yesterday, but some will stay open and offer fresh services.

Locals will be able to recharge their mobile phone batteries at the booths in downtown areas, such as Xintiandi and Huaihai Road, in the future.

Meanwhile, the original tourist information service will be kept, including the free maps in multiple languages, the first-aid packages and free umbrella-lending service.

Locals, including expats, are invited to participate in the voluntary services provided at the booths.

"Commercial services are strictly banned in the booths," said Zhang Yi, from the volunteer department of the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination.

The authorities have made specific regulations for the booths to prevent them becoming newspaper stalls or rest houses for urban management workers on hot days.

Under the current scheme, booths near the main railway stations, Shanghai South Long-distance Bus Station, Xujiahui, Lujiazui, and the China Pavilion will be kept to meet the frequent inquiries of visitors.

"A very busy booth needs to be able to handle more than 20,000 questions every day," said Liu Ying, an official in charge of the supervision in Luwan District.

The district government plans to introduce badges, certificates and subsidies to attract volunteers in the future.

A website will be launched soon to admit volunteers.

The appearance of the booths will be redesigned and new colors will be applied.


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