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May 12, 2010

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Home » Metro » Public Services

Missed-flight tab sought from Metro

SOME passengers who missed flights at the Pudong International Airport on Monday because of a subway breakdown are demanding to be compensated by the Metro.

The Metro operator, Shanghai Shentong Group, said yesterday that it would carefully consider the issue but could not guarantee the compensation.

Experts and lawyers, on the other hand, said it is reasonable that passengers be made whole beyond a ticket refund.

"As soon as passengers buy the ticket," said Zhang Qihuai, a lawyer from the Lanpeng Law Firm, "that means they sign a contract with the Metro company, which should be responsible for the consequences caused by its own fault."

A spokesman for the operator said yesterday that the subway is just a public transportation. "The compensation will cost each citizen's money."

Countered Zhang: "That's not an excuse."

In Monday's lengthy delay of Line 2 trains bound for the airport, the operator failed to fulfil the contract, Zhang said. He said the company should cover such costs to passengers as charges to book new flights.

Bao Peilun, a lawyer from the Hengxin Law Firm, agreed, but said it is "relatively difficult asking for such compensations in real cases."

"Normally passengers cannot even get their ticket refunded," Bao said.

The most recent mass refund for city Metro system happened last December when tens of thousands of passengers were affected after two trains collided on Line 1 during the morning rush hour. No one was injured in the accident, but thousands were delayed for work.

In response to similar Metro delays, some said a new regulation is needed concerning responsibilities and compensation caused by transport delays.

Bao said such regulation or law has lagged because riders usually do not bother to seek compensation for the relative cheap price of a ticket. He suggested setting up a plan that attached compensation to different degrees of delay.

Maglev and airport shuttle buses, two other major ways to city's airports, have paid compensation in similar breakdowns.

About 70 Maglev commuters, who missed their flights at the Pudong airport due to a Maglev breakdown on May 5, received refunds upon arrival at the airport and Maglev staff members helped people who had to book new flights.

The Maglev operator also paid charges incurred by passengers who had to rearrange flights.

Airport shuttle bus services, which carry passengers from downtown, also cover losses if delayed passengers on a breakdown bus cannot be taken away by the rescue buses within 30 minutes.


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