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Shanghai gears up for World Expo

2010. 27 February

by Glenda Chong
( China is getting ready to host the World Expo in May in its eastern city of Shanghai.

Plans to host the event started 10 years ago, when China won the bid.

As part of preparations for the expo, Hongqiao airport is undergoing a US$2.2 billion expansion.

Once completed, the new Terminal 2 will act as a transportation hub, connecting with subways and high-speed railways.

It currently services only domestic routes but come March, it will begin handling international flights as well.

Located in Puxi and closer to the downtown districts than Pudong International Airport, the new terminal is expected to double Hongqiao's current turnover of 20 million passengers a year.

The improvements were made with the World Expo in mind, but Shanghai will obviously reap long-term benefits.

"I think the Shanghai World Expo is going to have a huge impact on China, especially Shanghai, specifically the government has taken a long term perspective on how to use the investment dollars for the Expo," said Shaun Rein, managing director of China Market Research Group.

"So they've been spending a lot of money on real estate, fixing up and most importantly fixing up the transportation. So the Shanghai government is laying down more tracks for the subway than all over New York City. So the shanghai government is really using the expo to try to term the infrastructure, transportation for Shanghai into a world class city."

The subway, which opened with just one line in 1995, is also growing.

To facilitate visitors' travel during the World Expo, a metro line has been built just for this purpose.

Said Liao Xiong Hua, manager of the Expo Engineering Department: "Madang Road Metro Station is an interchange station for 2 lines; line 13 and line 9. Line 9 is at basement 2. This is its Xujiahui Road Station. Line 13 is at basement 3 and this is its Madang Road Station. Here it becomes an "L" shape, the corner of the "L" will be used as a security hall by the Expo Coordination."

The subway will connect the two expo sites in Pudong and Puxi. Authorities say the six carriage train can carry 2000 passengers at six minute intervals and travel is free if travellers already have expo tickets.

Today, average passenger volume on Shanghai's metro system reaches about 6.5 million daily.