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April 13, 2011

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Metro to adjust brake systems

THE city's Metro operator said yesterday it plans to adjust the emergency brake system on many subway trains to prevent passengers from using it for unnecessary reasons.

Shanghai Shentong Metro Group told Shanghai Daily it wants to put an end to delays caused by commuters wrongly stopping trains between stations.

A company official said they don't have exact records of how frequently such incidents occur. However, the official added that the cases usually happen close together, perhaps because more people learn about the emergency brakes through media coverage.

Officials said passengers have pulled the emergency brake because they feel sick and want help or because their bag or clothing got caught in a train door. In some extreme cases, passengers engaged the emergency brake because they missed their stop and wanted to get off.

"Stopping trains between stations will only delay the arrival of emergency help," said Yin Wei, a Shanghai Shentong official. "It only takes a few minutes at most for a train to reach the next stop, where help will be available much faster."

Officials said the city's trains have two different designs. About half allow passengers to pull the emergency brake at any time while the others only allow it to be activated when a train hasn't completely left a station.

The trains that allow braking at any time will be adjusted, officials said. After the adjustment, pulling the emergency brake will not stop a train unless it is still along the platform, officials added.

Last month, passengers pulled the emergency brake twice in three days on Line 1, causing delays for thousands of commuters.

Metro officials have reminded passengers that the emergency brake is only to be used in a serious crisis, such as after an explosion or an earthquake.

However, the plan to restrict passenger access to emergency brakes is likely to raise safety objections from some locals.


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