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Safety first in metro's hall upgrade
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Workers dismantle ticket reading machines late yesterday at the entrance to the People's Square Station of Metro Line 2 to make way for a new route to pass the underground hall and ease passenger flow.

Shanghai metro passengers interchanging between Lines 1, 2 and 8 at the People's Square Station should follow a new route to pass the underground hall, under changes to improve traffic there.

The program to ease clogging of passenger flows underground was scheduled to start after metro operation ended last night.

Temporary guiding equipment has been set up to steer passengers to exits or the interchange until relocation work is completed.

Under the program, seven stores in the northern hall near Line 2 are to be removed to provide space for passengers.

The number and locations of ticketing machines for Line 2 have also been adjusted.

All efforts have been made to separate passengers changing for Line 2 after getting off Lines 1 and 8 from others on the opposite route.

The current hall of the People's Square Station was put into use last year, together with the city's new Lines including Line 8. The new hall, also named the People's Square Station's "giant triangle," not only enables passengers to change among three lines but also greatly cuts down the previous long interchange walking distance between Lines 1 and 2.

Local commuters had complained about the long, old passage for years.

However, with the number of passengers interchanging in the new hall reaching more than 250,000 daily, metro operators have found overcrowding in some areas of the hall an alarming safety issue that needed changing.

Passengers leaving Lines 1 and 8 for Line 2 and others coming from the opposite direction were confronting each other and causing major overcrowding during rush hours as they all tend to pass through the two arches closest to the platforms.

This safety concern has caused metro operators to streamline the big crowds by improving layout of the hall.

The city metro turnover hit a new record high of 3.23 million people on Friday, the first day following the Lantern Festival.

The interchange traffic flow on Friday also reached a new peak of 978,000 people, said the metro authority.

The total mileage of local metro systems jumped to 234 kilometers last year with the opening of three new lines and two extended reaches.

On the still expanding network, there are now eight lines in service with 161 stations.

The number of daily passengers on each of the new lines is increasing at a rapid speed.

The metro authority dispatched 30,000 extra tickets on the lines and added 48 train shuttles on Friday to handle the traffic peak after Spring Festival.

(Shanghai Daily February 25, 2008)

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