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December 22, 2011

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More services in Metro stations

METRO travelers in town will find improved conveniences in the form of stores, cafes, self-service vending, banking and bill-paying machines as well as bookstores in the coming months.

Metro managers said yesterday they were planning a big expansion of such service facilities at Metro stations.

"For example, we are currently in talks with two bakery food brands well accepted in the local market to introduce their outlets to the Metro stops. The stores provide fresh bread, cakes as well as donuts," said a manager with Shentong Subway Assets Management Company, who asked to be unnamed.

The official said local Metro management will expand not only food and convenience stores in the Metro network but leisure and cultural businesses as well. There will be more cafes and bookstores, according to the plans.

Food, beverage and convenience stores inside Metro stations have sprung up over the years and now total about 300. About 90 percent of them are franchised brand stores such as FamilyMart and 7-Eleven, officials said.

And about 1,000 ATMs and over 2,000 sets of self-service terminals and vending machines are also available.

The Metro management wants more such self-service machines in stations so people can pay utility bills as well as shop for discounted cinema tickets.

Some people are arguing that expanding businesses in Metro stations will occupy too much space and risk public safety during periods of busy traffic. Metro managers said the stores and facilities would not be established until their design and locations are judged not to hinder heavy traffic.

Starting today, rush-hour Metro riders can find special Metro store shopping coupons tucked inside the free Metro Express newspapers dispatched daily on the platforms.

The 100,000 coupons are for shopping - mainly for foods, magazines and beverages inside nearly half of the current Metro stores.

The promotion is funded by the Metro management in order to boost development of Metro commerce.


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