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November 2, 2009

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Home » Metro » Public Services

Crowds mob first buses to Chongming

BIG crowds and long lines yesterday hit the city's first bus services from the Pudong New Area to Chongming Island after a new tunnel-bridge link opened on Saturday.

"Media reports said that a bus trip would be so convenient now, taking only 70 minutes to travel from downtown to Chongming Island. Guess how long the trip really took today?" asked passenger Hu Yanxun.

She arrived at the bus terminal in Pudong at 8:30am and it was about 2 hours and 50 minutes later when she set foot on the island.

Nearly half that time was spent on waiting in a long line at the bus station and struggling in big crowds trying to board a bus, Hu said.

"There were so many passengers waiting. After we managed to board a bus, the driver spent nearly 20 minutes collecting fares before the bus started," she said.

Passengers at other bus stations reported similar frustrations on the four routes linking downtown Shanghai to the island at the mouth of the Yangtze River.

Police officers stayed on the scene to keep order.

Some passengers complained about too many seniors traveling on the buses to Chongming - Shanghai senior citizens get free bus rides, while others pay a 12-yuan fare.

"At least 70 percent of the passengers were elderly. They seemed very excited to take a free bus ride for a look at the new tunnel-bridge complex that's just opened to traffic," Hu said.

The Changjiang Tunnel-Bridge Expressway connects the downtown with the islands of Changxing and Chongming, previously accessible only by ferry.

As strong winds in the Yangtze River suspended all island ferry services yesterday morning, many Chongming islanders heading for Shanghai rushed to the bus station to take the new service.

More bus routes to the island will be gradually introduced.

Chongming islanders who supply their vegetables to the city were all smiles yesterday with the new transport links.

"This could now save me 40,000 yuan (US$5,859) to 50,000 yuan a year, which used to be spent on ferry tolls to transport my vegetables," said producer Zhang Hua.

Farmers transporting vegetables escape the bridge and tunnel fees.


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