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A8 'guides' help city's lost drivers

A SECTION of the closed A8 expressway didn't cause serious traffic jams at the weekend, but it did create a business opportunity for "guides" who charged lost drivers for directions to alternative routes.

The A8 expressway is being widened in preparation for next year's World Expo. Since Saturday, the road has been closed to all vehicles between the Xinzhuang and Xinqiao overpasses. Half of the lanes will also be closed between Xinqiao Overpass and Songjiang Overpass.

Traffic police said they will direct traffic at key areas from today, the first work day since sections of the Shanghai-Zhejiang Expressway were closed. Signs about the closure have also been set up on all elevated roads and related ground roads.

But some drivers complained that the signs didn't provide enough information.

"Road signs should give specific detour routes otherwise drivers can easily get lost," said a driver surnamed Ye, who got lost at an entrance to the expressway on Saturday while trying to go to Jiaxing in Zhejiang Province.

Guides soon appeared at a few confusing intersections to give directions to lost drivers. A guide told Shanghai Morning Post that he charged about 20 yuan (US$2.93) for hopping into one lost driver's car and giving him directions for 10 minutes.

A highway manager reminded drivers that they can detour to the A9, Shanghai-Qingpu-Pinghu Expressway, A11, Shanghai-Jiangsu Expressway, or the A4, Xinzhuang-Fengxian-Jinshan Expressway.


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