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Top city advisers make public transport priority

2009. 26 October

by Dong Zhen
( The city's top advisory body is urging the municipal government to implement policies to help reduce traffic congestion in the CBD area during the 2010 Shanghai World Expo by encouraging the use of public transport.

After completing a study of the city's transport industry and traffic conditions, a team of members of the Shanghai Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference released a report yesterday on initiatives.

It suggests allowing Expo ticket holders free travel on trains and buses running to the Expo zones would be an effective way to reduce the use of private and company vehicles.

The six-month event starting next May is expected to attract between 400,000 to 800,000 visitors daily.

The report suggests that the government issues temporary bus and subway fare coupons citywide to make travel by public transport cheaper during the Expo.

The report also suggests that Expo ticket holders be granted free parking at P+R (park and ride) lots built at outlying traffic hubs.

The city government plans to have seven large P+R lots in operation by the start of the Expo, all connected to major Metro and bus hubs.

Not all members support the free-travel initiative.

"We need to think about it more carefully," a top advisory body member said yesterday at one of their meetings.

"It could easily cause disputes among passengers. Those without an Expo ticket could complain it is unfair."

Others said it would cause unnecessary losses in public transport income as some may abuse the tickets.

However, all members agreed that Shanghai should adjust parking charges citywide, with an emphasis on increasing costs in CBD areas to control the number of vehicles on downtown streets.

The members also urged lawmakers to look into possible alternative methods to replace city's often criticized car-plate auction system.

The city could consider selling long-term parking spaces as a revenue source to replace the car-plate tax, the committee report said.