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November 18, 2011

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Fake Metro cards targeted

FARE dodgers using fakes of cards entitling senior citizens and other groups to free travel face having these confiscated, Metro authorities said yesterday.

Up until now, Shanghai subway passengers found with bogus concessions cards would receive a warning and sometimes be fined and made to buy a ticket, but could keep their card.

The tougher stance is part of increased efforts by the Metro authorities to curb fare evasion, which it claims costs it 11 million yuan (US$1.73 million) a year.

In a spot check yesterday morning at four stations, more than 150 fare dodgers were caught, the Metro operator said.

Many were trying to use free travel cards issued to the elderly and disabled former armed forces and police personnel.

Among those stopped at Line 1's Xinzhuang Station was a man claiming to be an ex-servicemen. Under police questioning, he confessed that he had a fake disabled veteran's card.

He was not alone - within five minute at the station, six passengers were discovered using similar fakes to pass through a gate where these are checked manually.

"It's quite common, especially during rush hour," said Wang Ziqiang, a Metro ticketing manager.

According to the Metro operator, of the 6 million passengers who use the subway every day, around 10,000 are fare dodgers.

In addition to those using fake cards, some simply vault or duck under the barriers.

In an online poll conducted by Shanghai Daily, 36 percent of those taking part called for "tougher penalties for fare dodgers." Another 39 percent said the Metro authorities should make barriers more secure.

However, nearly 20 percent said it would be better for the operator to lower Metro fares.


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