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Rush-hour services get a boost

RUSH-HOUR passengers crammed into Metro trains may soon have a little more elbow room as the operator is increasing peak-time services and buying more trains. Ying Minghong, president of the Shanghai Shentong Metro Group, said 27 new train are to go into service alongside the 2,000 currently operating in the network. And additional services will run during rush hour, pledged Ying. Ying said Shentong was aiming "to increase the capacity by 10 percent on average during rush hour." The six lines receiving the additional resources are Lines 2,6,7,8,9 and 11. New trains have already been added on Lines 7, 9 and 11. Shanghai's Metro system has 11 lines and handles 5.55 million passengers a day this year - a 26 percent increase on last year. It accounts for 35 percent of the public transport volume daily. Metro Line 2 - the city's busiest subway, handling 1 million riders in work day - will receive the biggest boost with seven new trains added and interval times cut to three minutes. And Zhang Lingxiang, deputy director with the local Metro operation centre, said later this year Line 2 services from Pudong International Airport will run an hour later, until 10pm. The pledge to improve rush-hour Metro services will find favor with Shanghai Daily reader "Danny" who e-mailed comments on Metro safety. "The rush-hour headache is a big concern for every passenger having no other choice but to take subway trains to and from work, crowded in every single corner of the carriage, standing on one another's feet," Danny wrote. "I think one efficient way to handle this awkwardness is for the government to put into play more trains during rush hours," he said in his e-mail. Danny added his concerns about firefighting equipment in the Metro. "I don't mean this equipment is useless. I just think more professionals should be deployed within easy reach of these device throughout working hours." He also feared how the Metro system would cope should a fire break out. "If any subway station accidentally caught fire, the chances are! the cas ualty wouldn't only end up as hundreds, but reach up to thousands instead," he said. By 2015, daily volume on the Metro is expected to exceed 10 million - more than 50 percent of commuters using public transport.

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