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April 5, 2010

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Home » Metro » Public Services

Jams and delays hit cemetery visits

TRAFFIC jams and overcrowded buses are expected today as families visit suburban cemeteries to celebrate Qingming Festival and honor the graves of the deceased.

As it is a public holiday, transport authorities are expecting expressways to neighboring provinces to be busy, with more than 600,000 cars expected today by the highway administration.

Yesterday more than 500,000 cars traveled the expressways to reach remote cemeteries and gardens.

Travelers who board long-distance buses are likely to see jams today. At Shanghai South Bus Station, the city's main hub for routes to tomb sites, about 40,000 passengers are expected, almost double yesterday's number.

Three police helicopters will patrol key areas to alert traffic authorities about congestion spots.

More than 160,000 passengers are expected to travel through the city's two main railway terminals today.

Shanghai's Metro lines are also under pressure, with more than 100,000 passengers forecast to take Line 11 alone today to Jiading District.

Buses commissioned to serve the World Expo were brought into early service to ferry passengers from Metro stations to cemeteries over the weekend.

Thirty buses will be used today to shuttle visitors to Songhe Cemetery in Jiading, officials said.

More than 1.4 million people and 127,000 vehicles visited cemeteries over the past two days, a rise of 58.8 percent since last year's Qingming Festival, Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau said yesterday.

"Last year, the festival fell on the first day of the public holiday so the number of visitors to graves decreased on the following two days," said a bureau official surnamed Zheng.

"But this year, Qingming Festival falls on the last day of the three-day holiday, so we expect the number of visitors to increase each day."

According to Chinese tradition, tomb sweeping should finish before noon, so mornings are busiest.

Several cemeteries have tried to spread out the volume of visitors in the mornings by providing discounts on afternoon shuttle buses.


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