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January 17, 2013

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Travel rush to test public transport capacity

MOTORISTS will once again be able to use the city's highways toll-free while the Metro network will serve a peak of 7.5 million passengers during the Spring Festival travel peak, Shanghai traffic authorities said yesterday.

The toll-free policy, first introduced during the National Day holiday in October, will be in effect for small vehicles from February 9 to 15.

The daily peak for vehicles on the city's expressways is expected to reach 900,000.

"We advise drivers not to rush or wait at the toll stations," said Yang Jionghao, deputy director with city road authority. "We don't want there to be any accidents or severe congestion at the main toll stations."

The city's two airports also expect to be busy during the travel rush. They expect to handle about 8.6 million travelers, up 5.7 percent from last year's corresponding period.

Shanghai Railway Station said about 7.8 million will take trains, a 10 percent rise compared to last year. The first added train to accommodate the travel peak, from Shanghai to Chengdu, departed on Tuesday night.

The city's 12 Metro lines are expected to handle an average of 5.7 million riders a day, a 9.4 percent increase from last year, during the 40-day travel rush that starts on January 26, traffic officials said.

Additional subway trains will be put into service to ease congestion on carriages and in stations.

A total of 15.78 million commutes are expected daily on the city's buses, subways and taxis during the travel rush, authorities said.

Meanwhile, the Metro operator began restricting passenger flow on Line 9's Caohejing Hi-Tech Park Station from 5:30pm to 6:30pm due to overcrowding.

Barriers will be added at the entrances to slow down the speed of people entering the station and ease platform congestion, Metro officials said.

The area has many offices. Congestion at the station has increased of late as some companies in the area canceled shuttle bus services.


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