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Subway of inconvenience

China Daily | Updated: 2013-03-21 07:12

Comment on "Beijing to improve subway flow" (China Daily, March 14)

The director of Beijing's rail transit command center, Zhan Minghui, has said that the capital is more likely to witness a daily passenger flow of 10 million subway riders.

Many people can't imagine what such a huge commuter population means. But I know from my personal experience how crowded Beijing's subway is during peak hours and how terrible an experience it is to take the subway to work in the morning.

My apartment is quite close to a subway station on Line 5, and it takes me only 20 minutes to reach the subway station near my office. This should make it utterly convenient for me to take the subway to work. But the fact is just the opposite.

So crowded is the subway in the morning that I have to queue up for at least 15 minutes outside the station to get to the platform. Once there, I have to leave three to five trains before being able to board one. Passengers can hardly move in the carriage, and it is always a struggle to get down at my scheduled station.

The subway has become more crowded ever since the government decreed that people could drive their vehicles only on alternate days.

Instead of making travel more convenient, the new subway lines have added to problems of commuters by drawing in more passengers from the suburbs because the subway has become the most effective mode of transport for them.

I doubt if the Beijing subway will become more convenient for commuters only by limiting the number of passengers and building new lines.

It's time Beijing authorities changed their centralized urban planning style, because only when a lot fewer people have to reach the central business district for work every day can this problem be solved.

Charles Zhang, via e-mail

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(China Daily 03/21/2013 page9)

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