Passengers board a Guangzhou Metro Line 3 train in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province, November 10, 2008. [Li Qian/chinadaily.com.cn]
The mega city of Guangzhou, plagued by chronic traffic congestion, is solving the problem with an extensive underground rail system.
A port city in South China, Guangzhou will have subway lines totaling more than 230 kilometers by 2010, which is expected to land the city in the Top Ten group of the world's longest subways. In 2020, there will be 20 routes in the city extending at least 500 km, according to city planners.
Guangzhou became the fourth city in the Chinese mainland to have metro lines in 1997 after Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin. The southern city currently runs four lines with a total of 116 kilometers, carrying 1.8 million commuters every day, said Chen Bo, spokesman of the Guangzhou Metro group.
Now with seven new subway lines under construction, Guangzhou Metro has taken on the responsibilities of ensuring smooth transportation during the upcoming Asian Games. "Eighty percent of the 2010 Asian Games venues will be connected to the convenient subway lines when Guangzhou hosts the grand event," Chen said.
Benefiting from the subway's convenience and effectiveness in reducing road traffic, Guangzhou has joined the race with Beijing and Shanghai in building longer subway lines.
Beijing is aiming at an ambitious 561 km of underground track, currently considered the world's longest by the year 2015, while Shanghai will finish construction of 510 km lines in 2012.
(China Daily November 11, 2008)