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September 3, 2013

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Extended line riders shrug off minor flaws

Barring a few hiccups and minor irritants, the second phase of Metro Line 11, which started last weekend, had a smooth sailing but did not have the sort of impact on Line 2 as previously predicted.


The 12-station extension runs from downtown Jiangsu Road Station to Pudong’s Luoshan Road Station. According to the Metro operator, the entire stretch of line from northern Jiading District to the Pudong New Area, ferried 82,000 passengers during the morning rush hours yesterday — 15,000 more than last Monday.


Among them, 13,000 made good of the second phase.


The most crowded section was between Caoyang Road and Xujiahui stations, which allowed commuters to transfer  to lines 1, 2, 3, 4, 9 and 10.


However, commuters could breathe easy in the southern section of the line from Longhua to Luoshan Road stations even during rush hours.


Line 2 remains first choice


The second phase of Line 11 that runs under the Huangpu River was expected to take some of the burden off Line 2, the city’s busiest Metro line. But the Metro operator, Shanghai Shentong Group, found that the extended Line 11 seemed to benefit those trying to reach the Line 8 stations in Pudong by offering them another route.


Like, for example, a commuter surnamed Xu, who lives near Fengqiao Road Station on Line 11. In order to reach Yangsi in Pudong, he would usually transfer to Line 2 first at Jiangsu Road Station, and then to Line 8 at People’s Square. But now he reaches Yangsi by transferring to just one line and even saves about half an hour of travel time. “Line 8 is too crowded compared to Line 11, where I can easily find a seat,” said Xu.


The Metro operator had hoped that the second phase of Line 11 going toward Pudong would share passengers with Line 2. However, with Lujiazui Station on Line 2 serving a large number of offices and business centers, the impact of Line 11 on Line 2 was limited.


But the Shentong Group insisted that Line 11 was still new to citizens, and it takes some time before commuters adjust their travel habits. By 5pm yesterday, Line 11 had ferried about 162,000 passengers, up 11.4 percent from last week.


 Hidden dangers on platforms


Others pointed out to the hidden dangers on the newly opened line.


At Xujiahui and Jiao Tong University stations, the gap between the platforms and trains were as wide as 9 centimeters — big enough to entrap children.


The Shanghai Shentong Group  said the gaps were necessary for trains which along a curved track at the Xujiahui Station. However, it said it will soon initiate measures, like adding rubber edges to platforms, to ensure safety of passengers.


 Confused commuters


Elsewhere, commuters either got lost or were confused at the Oriental Sports Center Station that is also the junction for lines 6 and 8.


It is a bit confusing as I am trying out the new line for the first time today,” a passenger surnamed Liang said as she tried to reach the platform for Line 11 going northwards.


Liang got off from a Line 8 train to take Line 11 to Jiangsu Road Station. However, instead of taking a train towards Jiading, she ended up on the wrong platform where Line 11 trains  head to the southern Luoshan Road. She seemed to be lost as the other side of the platform was for Line 6. But with some help from the Metro staff, Liang followed the directions and eventually found the right platform for her journey.


The Oriental Sports Center Station also used colored signs to play up the directions. But for the new rider it still takes a while to follow the directions.


Liang was still happy with the newly opened section. “Previously, I had to go all the way to People’s Square for a transfer.


Now I change to Line 11 first and then to Line 2 at Jiangsu Road Station, which saves me around 20 minutes,” she said. 


Not convenient


It is still not convenient for  commuters to reach Luoshan Road Station, the southern terminal of Line 11, due to  the construction of an expressway  along Luoshan Road. Upon completion, the expressway will link to the city’s Outer Ring Road, or the S20 Expressway.


The Zhangnan Line bus service is just three minutes walk from the Luoshan Road Station and ferries passengers to Zhangjiang High-Tech Park.


The planned circular shuttle bus service that was supposed to pick up commuters from nearby Jinke Road and Kangqiao Road E hasn’t started yet.




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