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July 20, 2013

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Seniors beat the heat by chilling out in public

THRIFTY seniors are congregating at city subway stations and shopping malls and taking long bus rides, taking advantage of free air-conditioning during the current heat wave.

At stations, many sit and chat, take naps and even bring pets, saving on their electricity bills as temperatures outside approach 40 degrees Celsius.

The Shanghai Metro operator said it wouldn't interfere so long as the seniors don't play poker, cause disturbances or block subway station entrances.

A member of staff with the No. 537 Bus line told Shanghai Evening Post that some elderly residents take the bus in the afternoon almost daily on hot summer days, just to enjoy the free air-conditioning.

Seniors, who don't need to buy tickets, board at around 2pm and once the bus reaches its destination take another home. The journey usually takes three hours.

The member of staff that as the elderly passengers didn't embark on their journey during rush hour, staff did not have the heart to ask them to get off.

The newspaper said many elderly favor Metro stations over buses as the coolest spots.

At one station of Metro Line 8, seniors were gathered yesterday afternoon.

Some were sitting on the concourse and chatting to friends, some were taking a nap and some had even brought pets.

The Metro operator said there's no law banning city residents from taking a rest in the stations.

But staff would eject seniors if they affected the operation of subway trains, said an official.

Local sociologist Zhang Youde told the newspaper that the presence of the seniors could create safety problems.

And web users also expressed concerns that crowds might block exits during an emergency evacuation.


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