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September 17, 2013

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Rail, Metro prepare for a surge in holiday crowd

Shanghai’s railway and Metro networks are bracing themselves for a Mid-Autumn Festival rush but those hoping for toll-free expressways or discounted entrances to scenic spots are in for a disappointment.

The holiday runs from Thursday to Saturday.

Railway authorities said they expect to ferry about 960,000 passengers over the three days  through the city’s three main railway outlets — Shanghai Railway Station, Shanghai South Railway Station and Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station.

They will add 53 temporary trains to deal with the increase in the numbers of passengers to Anhui, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces.

The Yangtze River Delta routes like Shanghai-Ningbo, Shanghai-Hangzhou, Ningbo-Hangzhou are likely to handle about 80 percent of the holiday traffic, the railway authorities said.

Meanwhile, the city’s Metro network is expecting an average of 6.4 million subway commuters per day during the festival period, touching a peak of 8 million tomorrow.

No free passage at highway tolls for 2.7m cars

The city’s expressways are expected to handle 2.7 million in car volumes between tomorrow and Saturday. Tomorrow evening and Thursday morning are likely to be the busiest when short-trip travelers head out of city. Highway entrances at G2, G1501, G40, G50 and G60 may witness some level of traffic congestion.

Saturday, the last day of the festival, will be another peak travel time when Shanghai residents return home.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is not among the four major public holidays. The highway tolls are usually exempted for 7-seater or smaller vehicles during the major holidays — Spring Festival, Qingming Festival, Labor Day and National Day.

Meanwhile, the Shanghai Tourism Administration reminded travelers to choose travel agencies carefully with operation licenses and business permits, and avoid packages sold at extremely low prices during the holidays, including the National Day holiday.

Hotline for tourism-related complaints 

Tourism authorities also ruled out any price discounts to the city’s scenic spots over fears of overcrowding.

They urged people to be careful of fliers promoting tourist spots which are distributed at Metro stations and on the streets. Most of them are made by unlicensed travel agencies.

Tourists can call 021-64393615 or 962020 if they are forced to purchase goods or find their travel routes changed arbitrarily. They can also call the number to complain against agencies if the travel packages do not include what is stated in the contracts.

A new tourism law set to take effect in October aims to clean up the industry by forcing out illegal operators, ending price irregularities and arbitrary route changes, and ensure that consumers aren’t forced to shell out more than the upfront costs they signed up for.



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