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October 15, 2011

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Metro door wedge protesters fined

TWO Metro passengers who wedged open the doors of a train in a protest over delays have been fined for disrupting services, police said yesterday.

Thousands of commuters were held up on Thursday night when the pair, surnamed Chen and Zhou, staged their protest around 9pm at Zhongxing Road Station of Line 8.

They blocked the train door with their bodies and feet after it took 48 minutes to travel just one stop between People's Square and Zhongxing Road stations.

As the train was unable to move off while the doors were open, it was delayed for a further 12 minutes at the station, impacting on services behind it.

Police said Chen and Zhou had been arguing with Metro staff and seeking an explanation after Line 8 suffered an equipment malfunction at around 8pm.

They were forced to leave the scene after ignoring police requests to end their protest.

Both were fined 200 yuan (US$31) for preventing the normal operation of public transport, according to police.

The equipment malfunction that prompted the protest saw Metro Line 8 services operate at reduced speed for about 90 minutes from 8pm.

Services experienced another glitch yesterday when at 8:18am an equipment breakdown forced Metro Line 1 services to be slowed down between Xinzhuang and Jinjiang Park stations.

Normal operations resumed at 10am. Details of the equipment failure were not revealed.

Some commuters claim the Metro operator uses equipment failure as a convenient excuse for all service problems.

"The repeated broadcasts drive me mad," said Dai Min, a local resident who uses the subway every day. "They always tell us to wait for another 10 to 15 minutes. Sometimes, it can be totally misleading."

Dai is one of many passengers calling on the Metro operator to give more transparent explanations of problems.

Some web users suggested the operator rank the severity of disruptions by a grade or color.

Lan Tian, an official at the operation center of Shanghai Metro, told Shanghai Daily that four kinds of situations are categorized as equipment failure. They include malfunctions on trains, track, signals and stations.

Lan said it was unnecessary to specify the reasons to passengers as the most urgent matter was resume operations when a breakdown happened.

"Sometimes, even the drivers don't know what's wrong," said Lan.

"They stop or lower their speed according to instructions from the control center."

Lan said when a train malfunctioned, it would inevitably cause a backup of delays. "There are more than 20 trains running at the same time on a line," Lan said.


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