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February 26, 2010

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Home » Metro » Public Services

Shutting of stations 'not permanent'

THE strategic closing of two Metro stations in peak hours, a controversial move designed to limit passenger crowding, "would not go permanent," city government spokesman Chen Qiwei said yesterday.

That was a different tone from the one the Metro operator took on Sunday, when management said "currently there is no plan to change the practice."

Huang Rong, director of the city's construction and transport commission, said yesterday that further extension of Metro service inside central downtown areas was no longer a plausible solution to improving Metro comfort and capacity.

"Some engineering experts proposed to build even more Metro connections inside downtown neighborhoods to further increase capacity. I don't think this is an effective cure," Huang said.

Given the current intensity of Metro services and stations inside central areas, Shanghai needs to increase ground traffic capacity, Huang argued.

But yesterday's statement offered little immediate solace to tens of thousands of frustrated morning commuters.

Since last weekend, those taking Line 6 from Wulian Road and Line 8 from Quyang Road every morning have found their subway access suddenly restricted.

The subway management said the practice so far has been effective in reducing carriage crowding. More important, officials said, it smoothed rush-hour traffic on the two Metro lines as a whole by preventing boarding congestion that constantly blocked the door from closing properly.

Yin Wei, a Metro operator spokesman, said earlier this week in response to riders' complaints that the practice yielded the biggest result while affecting the fewest commuters.

A local government source said some landlords in the Quyang area have started receiving calls from residential tenants seeking to terminate their rental contracts or to pay less in rent because they've lost convenient access to the Quyang Road Station.

The city's Metro management has long struggled to ease congestion and upgrade capacity.


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