Shanghai municipal government aims to double the efficiency of public buses and make them less crowded during rush hour by adding public-bus-only traffic lanes and rebuilding terminal stations by 2010, traffic engineers said yesterday.
The city plans to create 300 kilometers of bus-only traffic lanes over the next several years. Currently, there are only about 30 kilometers of bus-only lanes in the city.
It also plans to reconstruct 60 percent of the local terminal bus stations so buses won't block traffic while picking up passengers.
"Hopefully, the plan will double the speed of numbered buses and make them less crowded during rush hour," Cai Yifeng, a city planner with the Shanghai Transportation Planning Institute, said yesterday.
He said both measures aim to improve the efficiency of public road transport, which handles 7 million passengers every day on average, more than four times the number of people who use subways.
Some of the new lanes will be created by widening roads while others will be obtained by the re-arrangement of existing roads.
Public buses run at an average speed of 10 kilometers and hour during rush hour in downtown. The government plans to lift that speed to 18 to 20 kilometers per hour before 2010, officials said.
"When buses move faster, they will also become less crowded as they will be more efficient," he said.
Most of the bus lanes will be set up on major arteries, such as Zhaojiabang Road, Xizang Road M. and Zhongshan Road S, according to the Shanghai Urban Planning Administrative Bureau.
Construction of some 25 kilometers of new lanes is now planned.
"Public buses are always slowed down on streets by the increasing number of private vehicles," said Chen Youhua, an engineer with the bureau.
Another major task is to renovate 60 percent of the city's more than 900 terminal bus stations and moving them closer to subway stations.
Currently, buses block traffic when they stop to pick up passengers at many terminal bus stations.
The government now plans to create space off to the side of the road, so buses can stop without blocking cars behind them. That plan can only be used on wide streets, however.
(Shanghai Daily March 3, 2006)