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August 16, 2012

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Home » Metro » Entertainment and Culture

Night cruises on Suzhou Creek suspended for typhoon damage

SHANGHAI'S Suzhou Creek cruise, which has seen business fall off, has temporarily halted its night trip since storms damaged landscape lights along the creek, officials said.

Typhoon Haikui damaged some lights on buildings along the creek, affecting the sceneries of the night trip, so operators halted it, Lin Yong, general manager of the Shanghai Suzhou Creek Sightseeing Co, told Shanghai Daily yesterday.

The night trip began around 7pm every day was once a star attraction for the cruise. The operators said it provided a totally different experience with lights on buildings and trees on both sides of the creek.

Lin said the operators will resume the night trip as soon as the lights are repaired to try to reverse the decline in visitors.

The sightseeing service that was resumed in April attracts only 10 passengers a day sometimes and now that reconstruction on the Jiangning Road Bridge over the creek forced the trip to be shortened nearly by half.

"The shortened route means passengers cannot see the scenery of the Bund, which was a big attraction of the cruise previously," said Lin.

Workers have just finished digging pillar shafts for the new bridge, which is expected to open to traffic in December. The original Jiangning Road Bridge was demolished after 40 years of service because heavy traffic had rendered it structurally dangerous, officials said.

Lin said he thinks passenger volume will return to normal - about 100 a day - when construction is finished and the route can be extended again.

However, many passengers said a relatively high ticket price is another disincentive. The 19-kilometer-long route, taking about three hours, costs 200 yuan (US$31.75) for a round trip and 120 yuan for a one-way trip between the Danba Road Dock and the Waibaidu Bridge in Huangpu District.

The city's traditional Huangpu River cruise costs only 100 yuan.

"If the single trip ticket on the Suzhou Creek cruise is below 50 yuan, I will consider having a try, otherwise I would rather choose the Huangpu River cruise that is more famous," said a tourist from Guangdong surnamed Gao.

So far, most of the passengers on the Suzhou Creek cruise are locals, especially senior people, who want to take a look at the changes along the river, said Ding Yi, assistant manager of the cruise company. Foreign visitors account for about 20 percent of the passengers.

The cruise in operation has had setbacks since the city government launched the service in 2010.

It was expected to attract both local residents and tourists given its many historic bridges and buildings along the creek, including the city's earliest flour factory and mint.

But the service had to be stopped for more than a year shortly after it started for a large-scale dredging of the creek.

Yet, officials and experts are still optimistic. The service is expected to attract more passengers when more than 10 new docks are built along the creek for passengers to get on and off, said Dao Shuming, Shanghai Tourism Administration director.


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