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Shanghai Aims to Improve Public Transport
City leaders yesterday vowed to quicken the development of an integrated, efficient and comfortable urban public transportation system to support the growing city.

"Shanghai will invest more in the construction of transportation facilities and in five years, we will complete 400 kilometers of railway in the city," revealed Vice-Mayor Han Zheng.

Han made the remarks yesterday at the opening ceremony of the Third International Association of Public Transportation (UITP) Asia-Pacific Congress.

It is the first time the congress has been held in China along with the First UITP International Metropolitan Railways Conference.

According to the development blueprint of the city, Shanghai will continue to build itself into a modern metropolis in the next 20 years.

The plan demands a comprehensive public transportation network even while more and more people are buying cars, Han said.

Public transportation in Shanghai aims to attract 26 per cent of daily passengers with rail lines as its backbone, buses as the secondary form of transportation and taxies as a supplement by 2005, he said.

Currently, public transport in the city is only used by 22 per cent of daily commuters.

"A reasonable proportion in environmentally (friendly) big cities should be 40-50 per cent," said Wolfgang Meyer, UITP president.

High quality public transportation is essential for a society concerned about its people and heritage, he added.

Providing citizens with innovative, affordable and sustainable transportation solutions against a background of fast urbanization is a key issue for the on-going congress.

Meyer praised Shanghai for its public transportation system.

Unlike some cities in Europe, which have shut down railway systems due to the growth of motorists, it was wise for Shanghai to develop its own public transportation, Meyer said.

"The congress is a platform to exchange ideas and experience for Shanghai," he said.

UITP was founded in 1885 and is based in Brussels, with over 2,000 members from nearly 80 countries. It works to spearhead public transportation in the world and seeks to promote a better understanding of public transportation.

(China Daily November 20, 2002)

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