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Ticket policy stirs fuss

HOLDERS of standard tickets will be allowed to visit the World Expo during the National Day holiday from October 1-7 if they pay an additional 40 yuan (US$6), the organizer said.

An official at the Expo bureau's Ticketing Center said they hoped the policy would prevent overcrowding over the final month as about 18 million standard tickets had yet to be used as of the end of August. The official declined to update the number.

The policy has sparked complaints from some peak-day ticket holders. They said the new policy was unfair as they had spent more money to attend the Expo on a day fewer visitors were expected.

Seventeen days have been designated peak days, including the National Day holiday from October 1-7 and the last week of the Expo from October 25-31.

Only holders of peak-day tickets, which cost 200 yuan each, are admitted on these days. Standard tickets cost 160 yuan.

According to previous reports, a limit of 350,000 peak day tickets - 50,000 less than the site's average daily attendance - were issued for each peak day to avoid overcrowding.

Yu Qian, an accountant at a local company bought two peak-day tickets for October 1 and 2.

He said he spent more because he thought a peak day would have fewer visitors, thus making the Expo experience more enjoyable.

"Now, it will be just as crowded as the other days. I spent more than others without getting any privileges," he told Shanghai Daily.

A Ticketing Center official said that peak-day tickets did not include any privileges, but were issued only to control attendance on certain days.

The official said the organizer introduced the new policy to give people more choice when deciding on which day to visit.

The official said some standard-ticket holders had complained that October had too few days available for a visit.

It was the third ticket policy issued by the organizer within a month. They stopped selling standard and multi-day tickets at the beginning of September. They then allowed visitors to exchange one standard ticket (160 yuan) for two night tickets (90 yuan each).

Meanwhile, attendance has remained under 400,000 since a record high of 631,200 people visited last Thursday.

Zhang Qing, deputy director of the Expo's operation headquarters, said the site proved capable of handling 600,000 plus visitors, but added it was hard to forecast how many will come during the National Day holiday.


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