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December 7, 2009

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Metro sees clarity in numbers

BECAUSE Chinese and English characters might not be clear enough for foreign visitors, the city's Metro authority is now planning to name subway stations by numbers.

The subway operator, Shanghai Shentong Group, plans first testing the new naming system on Line 10, which is expected to open before the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.

Wu Xinyi, a subway spokesman, said a similar naming method is used in Japan, but this would be a first for a subway system in China.

Shentong is considering two possible plans. It has posted them on its Website and is seeking public opinion until Thursday.

Take Nanjing Road E. Station of Line 2 as an example.

Under plan one, the station would get the added name, "0213."

Under plan two, that name would be "L2/13."

In each case, the meaning is: 13th station of Line 2.

Other stations would be named similarly by line number and sequence.

"The number could change, as some lines will have extension parts in the future," Wu said.

If the testing is welcomed by the public, the system will go into broad use.

"I think it's a good way for foreigners to understand," said Wang Tao, a daily subway rider. "More often than not, the Chinese characters are hard to remember for them."

People can share their opinions by sending e-mails to

Meanwhile, the brand-new Line 7 was in good shape on its first day of operation n Saturday, with no congestion reported so far.


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