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June 5, 2010

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Wheelchairs donated

EXPO visitors were reminded to take good care of the wheelchairs they rent and return them promptly, a senior Expo organizer said yesterday.

Also yesterday, the Shanghai Charity Foundation donated 1,000 more wheelchairs, which are now available to rent.

There are now 3,000 wheelchairs for rent, tripling the number that was available on May 1, the World Expo's opening day.

Some wheelchairs have been broken or not returned. And some people were subletting the wheelchairs because they were too tired to return them, said Xu Weiguo, deputy party chief of the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination.

Xu said they will improve the rent and return process to reduce these problems.

Among the new initiatives, staff members at the renting center will begin asking renters to leave their address and phone number.

They have also begun asking seniors and disabled people to show their certificates when borrowing a wheelchair to prevent people from abusing the service to bypass long lines at pavilions.

The center has received an increasing number of complaints, mostly from seniors who couldn't get wheelchairs because they had run out.

Later, people capable of walking were found with wheelchairs.

Wheelchairs were normally gone within 30 minutes during the first week, but now they will likely be available until 10:30am

Also, more baby strollers will be made available at the site soon. The number of strollers will increase to 2,000 from the current 800 by June 20, Xu Zuhua, deputy director of the Visitors' Service Center, told Shanghai Daily yesterday.

Most of the wheelchairs are available at site entrances and people can apply by paying a 200-yuan (US$29.30) 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 when leaving pavilions.


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