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New fast access rule to beat cheats, help aged

THE Expo organizer said yesterday it will allow physically challenged and elderly people over 75 years fast access to pavilions in new green channel rules.

However, only one person can accompany them to enter the pavilions, a senior Expo organizer said of the new conditions for express lanes to be released soon.

The organizer was still considering the rules for babies in prams and pregnant women, said Xu Weiguo, deputy Party chief of the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination.

The organizer will release the new unified rules for all pavilions late this month or early next month, said Qian Bojin, director of the Expo Site's Visitor Service Center.

In announcing the rule changes, Qian said no effort would be spared to persuade pavilions to reopen fast access lanes they closed to avoid abusive patrons.

Some pavilions, including Sweden, Thailand, Norway and Ireland, closed their green channels or set stricter access rules for disadvantaged groups after they were abused.

Healthy people abusing fast access for physically challenged visitors became a hot topic on the Internet recently.

A series of pictures were unveiled online of a family of five taking turns sitting on a wheelchair to pretend being physically challenged to get fast access.

The Netizen who posted the pictures said a woman among the five sat on the wheelchair, but was "more stable than any others" a minute after she stood up.

Hong Hao, director general of the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination, has said that seniors and physically challenged people have to show their identity cards or certificates when using fast access channels.

However, some abusers still exploited advantages at pavilions because no unified rules had ever been released.

The Shanghai More Love Foundation yesterday donated 1,000 additional wheelchairs to the Expo site, taking its tally of donations to 2,500 chairs.

There are now more than 3,500 wheelchairs for rent at the site but the supply continues to be inadequate.

All available wheelchairs were normally gone before 10:30am after the site opened at 9am, Qian said.

He encouraged visitors living in Shanghai to bring their own wheelchairs to the Expo site.

Most of the wheelchairs are available at site entrances and people can apply by paying a 200 yuan (US$29.41) refundable deposit. They can be returned to any wheelchair rental area within the grounds.

Wheelchairs can be rented between 9am and 9pm.

Some wheelchairs have been placed around the site, including inside the China Pavilion and Theme Pavilions, for emergency help. These wheelchairs must be returned immediately after patrons leave pavilions.


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