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March 4, 2010

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Bike ban makes baggage allowance

DAYS after folding bikes were banned from local Metro trains, some determined commuters have come up with a new way to keep their bikes during the trip and they might be glad to hear that their creativity has received a silent nod from the Metro rule maker.

The local Metro management yesterday said that so long as the passengers can fit the bikes into a bag of a reasonable size - the usual Metro luggage standard - they would face no trouble bringing them onto the subway.

But the management wouldn't say it supports more riders following such a practice.

As a city with fast-expanding Metro connections and a large population of office workers, folding bikes have been turning increasingly popular with daily commuters who use them to complete the short trip to their destination after getting off the subway.

While a great convenience to the users, the bikes have proved very disturbing to some fellow riders, especially during rush-hour heavy traffic.

The bikes were thus banned on local Metros and the rule officially took effect on Monday.

But since then, the bikes have been getting through by a new way.

"We have seen some riders putting their folding bikes into luggage bags during the past few days. Since the bikes are not dangerous goods, the security workers authorized to check the luggage have no right to ask the owners to leave them behind," said a Metro worker at the downtown Nanjing Road W Station of Line 2.

"When there is a new rule, people can always come up with some idea to get through. Since carrying luggage onto Metros is allowed, we so far could do nothing about it," said the worker.

The ban on bikes has made it easier for the Metro workers to stop violators who don't take the trouble to stuff their wheels in a bag.

"Riders carrying folding bikes to the station used to be very difficult to persuade to stop. But now, when we explained to them they would be breaking the law if they insisted on that, they mostly turned cooperative," said the on-duty director of the station, surnamed Wang, yesterday.

A luggage bag especially designed for holding bicycles has started to turn popular among online shopping deals in Shanghai. The bags are much smaller than normal air and train travel suitcases.

However, if the bike isn't a folding one, users would have to spend about 20 minutes taking off the wheels to fit the bike in and then taking it out, which some people doubt is worth the trouble.


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