Guangzhou Sees Subway Surge
Huge numbers of passengers take the subway on November 1st.
The subway system in Guangzhou is struggling to cope with huge numbers of passengers taking advantage of free public transportation ahead of the Asian Games, which kick off on the 12th this month.
An employee with the Guangzhou Metro Company, who only wanted to be identified by his surname Zhou, told the Global Times Tuesday that almost 7 million people traveled by subway Monday, double the regular number.
Zhou said that passengers had to wait for more than half an hour to get on a train at some transfer stations, while other stations had to temporarily restrict inbound traffic to ease the heavy passenger flow.
"We did not expect this number. Seven million exceeded our regular carrying capacity," Zhou said.
Guangzhou has adopted stringent traffic measures ahead of the Asian Games, including the banning of cars with license plates ending with odd and even numbers on alternate days, a practice used in the run up to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
A signboard reminds passengers of the free public transportation.
The traffic restrictions will last for 46 days, and free public transportation will last 30 days after the Games end late this month.
Some local citizens have complained about the overcrowding resulting from the policy.
Winnie Wang, an employee at a foreign-funded company in Tianhe district, said that it took her one hour longer than usual to get to work by subway since it became free. She said many of her friends were also late for their jobs because of the crowds on the subway. It is reported that many retired people and migrant workers are also visiting the city's scenic spots by subway, further adding to the passenger volume.
At the same time, the odd-and-even license plate rule implemented Monday is forcing more people to take the metro. Zhou said that the company is dispatching more staff and recruiting more volunteers to assist in the subway's smooth operation and help prevent accidents.
While the number of people taking the bus has also increased slightly since Monday, it has not seen anywhere near the surge in passenger numbers that the subway has, with no large crowds seen either on buses or at bus stations, the Guangzhou Daily said.
The paper added that since some private cars were not allowed on the roads due to the odd-and-even license plate policy, buses have been able to get through traffic at a much faster speed.
(By Yang Ruoyu)
[More Guangzhou News]