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December 3, 2010

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New measures lead to easier access

PEOPLE were able to buy tickets for the China Pavilion without waiting for a long time yesterday, the second day of its reopening, officials said.

This was in sharp contrast to the longest wait of four hours on Wednesday. All 30 ticket windows were open and officials have now limited people to a maximum of five tickets from a single window.

People could buy another five tickets from other ticket windows if they did need a lot of tickets, said an official surnamed Guo with the pavilions.

The new restriction aims to cut delays due to people buying a large number of tickets at once, as well as to crack down on ticket scalpers.

Some people were buying more than 100 tickets at a time on Wednesday, causing unnecessary delays as staff counted out the tickets and the cash. The organizer also suspected many ticket scalpers were among the multiple ticket buyers.

The decrease in waiting times forced scalpers to slash their prices to 25 yuan (US$3.75) yesterday, just 5 yuan more than the official price. On Wednesday, the highest price people were reported to be paying to scalpers was 100 yuan.

About 9,000 people gathered in front of the ticket windows of the pavilion on the first morning of reopening, stretching hundreds of meters and blocking roads and a nearby Metro station entrance. Police and soldiers had to be brought in to keep order and form human barriers to control the crowds safely and securely.

Expo organizers worked overnight to install hundreds of meters of zigzag barriers, which were widely used at the Expo site, in front of ticket windows and along Shangnan Road, where the queues were at their most congested on Wednesday.

However, it turned out the rapid turnaround at ticket windows and a lower turnout in visitors meant that the barriers were not necessary.

The pavilion is expecting to receive about 20,000 visitors a day while it is open through to the end of May and will open from 9am to 5pm daily.


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