3 routes for larger buses planned for Shanghai

The city's transport commission is planning to build three more "medium-capacity" bus routes following the success of the No. 71 service.

Shanghai's transport commission is planning to build three more “medium-capacity” bus routes following the success of the No. 71 service.

Xie Feng, head of the city’s transport commission, said larger buses are a key part of the city’s “public transport first” strategy.

Of the three routes under consideration, one runs along Zhaojiabang and Lujiabang roads to connect Xujiahui and Nanpu Bridge. However, whether an exclusive bus lane will come into play if this route is promulgated is still being discussed.

The second route runs across the north of the city from Zhoujiazui Road in Yangpu District to Changning Road in Changning District, Xie said.

The third proposed route, Xie said, is in the Pudong New Area, from Pujian Road to Hunan Road. “The public transport demand is huge since many residential communities are distributed in the area,” Xie added. “But the traffic flow in this area is also huge, which is a handicap for us to open a medium-capacity bus route.”

The city’s first medium-capacity bus route 71 has carried an average 46,000 passengers a day since March 2017.

Shanghai’s traffic management also has to adapt to the new order of online ride-hailing taxis and shared bikes.

“So far, we have granted online ride-hailing certificates to 9,535 drivers in the city,” Xie said, adding that online ride-hailing offers an alternative to public transport for the city’s commuters. But he said “companies are engaging in vicious competition” to try to monopolize the ride-hailing market, and this is contrary to the ideal development of the city’s transportation.

Meanwhile, the boom in shared bikes, he said, is restricting pedestrians’ street space. To restrain and discipline the bike-sharing industry, Xie said a formal regulation on the city’s shared bikes and electric bikes will be released soon.

The city’s traffic authority has banned new bikes in the city since August when the number of bikes had reached 1.8 million, far more than needed to meet demand.

Xie said that in the second half of this year, an online information platform will be opened to both the authority and the bike companies to better coordinate the distribution of bikes.

“We also encourage the companies to be more innovative in developing technologies like electronic fencing systems” to stop problems like chaotic bike parking, Xie said.

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