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April 25, 2012

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Soldiers on patrol at 5 Metro stations

DO not be surprised to see unarmed soldiers patrolling local Metro stations.

City police and traffic authorities said the soldiers are helping the Metro operator coordinate and smooth the crowds at busy stations to ensure operational safety, especially during the holiday season such as the coming May Day holiday.

The soldiers are based at five Metro stations - People's Square, Xujiahui, Shanghai Railway Station, Shanghai South Railway Station and Century Avenue.

"The method will be seen as a long-term one," said the police department.

Authorities said they do not intend to expand the policy to more stations. The city's expanding Metro network is seeing an increasing passenger load, with this year's record reaching up to more than 7.2 million last Friday.

The operator predicted the new record won't last long and that the subway will soon record 7.5 million journeys in a day. That figure would rival the Metro's all-time record, set during the 2010 World Expo.

Unlike the Expo time when soldiers stood by for safety concerns, this time the Metro seems to need more hands to keep the flows in order. On average, more than 6.5 million Metro journeys are made each weekday, while on weekends the figure is around 5 million.

Metro authorities also said yesterday that the passenger limitations will continue at busy stations due to safety worries about crowded platforms and concerns that large crowds would otherwise prevent trains from keeping to their schedules.

Passenger numbers have grown steadily since last month, with commuter growth in suburban areas, said the operator. It said it will add new trains but that policies restricting passenger numbers at some busy stations during rush hour will continue.

The city's 11 lines have 425 kilometers of track, the longest system in the world. Four new lines and extension sections are being built.


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