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April 16, 2010

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Tighter security hits travelers

KEEP your luggage lighter, and most important, always bring along your legal ID if you want smoother boarding on coach buses, trains and planes.

That became the newest travelers' tip yesterday as Shanghai began employing more X-ray detectors, sniffer dogs and law enforcement teams to tighten transportation security in the run-up to the World Expo.

Yesterday's incoming traffic on major toll roads was noticeably slower than usual because security inspection operations, which started in the morning, covered virtually every incoming car, bus and truck.

Traffic police spent several minutes on each vehicle, looking through the cars' interiors and checking the identities of drivers and passengers.

To speed things up, police urged local car owners to apply for a fast-track pass which will entitle them to register their IDs in advance and use a designated lane at the inspection points.

The number of daily incoming vehicles to the city, currently 120,000 to 130,000, is expected to increase to about 160,000 after the Expo starts on May 1, authorities said.

Railway stations and airports also adopted sterner inspections yesterday. Not only outbound train riders, but arriving rail travelers underwent random luggage and body checks before being allowed to leave the stations.

Air travelers also need to arrive earlier for their flights because they now encounter longer procedures for body and luggage searches at both local airports.

Traffic police yesterday also started putting areas surrounding the Expo zones on both banks of the Huangpu River under inspection, banning entry for vehicles without special permits.


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