Stations Will Not Be Closed
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Passengers at Huixinxijie Nankou subway station on Monday. [China Daily]
Despite the fact that the capital's subways will likely be under heavy pressure this winter, there are no plans to limit the number of passengers entering stations, says the network's operator.
Some local media outlets reported on Sunday that 23 subway stations on nine lines would be limiting the number of passengers entering between 7 am and 9 am each day because they were at capacity.
However, according to the Beijing subway management, no such plans are in place.
The Beijing Rail Transit Command Center said about half of the total number of people using the subway system do so during the morning and evening peak hours. And the center said it is likely that even more people will use the underground network during the cold days of winter.
But Jia Peng, spokesman for the Beijing Subway Authority, said there will be no long-term daily changes, just some temporary measures that might be introduced on an ad hoc basis if passenger numbers are too large.
He said the authority had certainly not released a list of stations that will have restrictions on a daily basis.
"Once passenger numbers increase sharply, stations will limit passenger flow," Jia said. "But all we will be doing is slowing down passengers' movements, not stopping them from entering stations."
Jia said restrictions will be brought in under three types of circumstances.
Busy stations, such as Tiantongyuan and Tongzhou North will be in the first category - stations that need to limit passengers almost every weekday morning because of overcrowding.
Passenger flow might also be temporarily limited at other stations in special circumstances, such as when there is heavy rain.
Restrictions could also be introduced following holdups because of breakdowns.
The main device that will be used will be a rope fence to control line-ups. Some stations might also ask would-be passengers to wait briefly outside to limit the number of people inside stations.
Zhang Fan, a 25-year-old woman who takes the subway at Sihui station each morning to get to work, said the overcrowding on the network is obvious.
"So many people crowd the subway station every morning," she said. "But I don't want measures to be brought in to reduce the numbers."
Zhang said she sometimes waits in the crowded station while two or three trains come and go before she can get aboard one. But she said if station staff start to limit the number of passengers allowed into the station, she will have to leave home earlier to be sure of getting to work on time.
The number of riders using the subway each day has continued to increase dramatically. The daily record hit almost 6 million person-trips in September.
(China Daily November 9, 2010)