Busy buses to roll out special services for expo visitors
Bus route 71, which shuttles between the Bund and the Shenkun Road transport hub near Hongqiao International Airport, is now the busiest bus line in the city and it’s about to get busier.
According to Shanghai Jiushi Bus Group, more than 50,000 people take the bus daily, many of them tourists. Passenger numbers are expected to swell during the China International Import Expo that will be held between November 5 and 10.
The bus company plans to set up a special branch line on route 71 to take visitors the National Exhibition and Convention Center, where the exhibition will be held. The branch line will drop and pick up passengers in the center’s parking lot.
An information kiosk desk will be set up there to provide directions to visitors.
“Many visitors to the expo will also want to see the Bund,” said Zheng Qin, a ticket conductor on the bus, who manned an information desk during the first expo last year. “Bus 71 provides them a quick ride there.”
Bus Line 71 is usually a 17.5-kilometer route that takes a little over an hour to cover. Fang Jin, one of the drivers on the route, said the branch line will add about two extra kilometres.
The line’s existing route mostly runs in an exclusive lane under the Yan’an Elevated Road, with stops under the road. Many people assume that a bus line with its own dedicated lane is trouble-free, unhampered by traffic jams and accidents. But Fang said there are still difficulties associated with it.
“The majority of 71 vehicles are extra-long buses, which means more blind spots for the drivers,” Fang said, explaining there are five such spots on the route. “And if we don’t finish a single trip within 65 minutes, the operation of the whole bus network is affected.”
Fang said there are 65 traffic lights and 58 crossroads on the route, making that timeline tricky.
For visitors who will be piling onto the buses during expo, Fang has compiled a brief tourist guide in his spare time. The 100-plus page booklet covers major tourist attractions along the route, which can be reached on foot, as well as information about other public transport.
It took Fang more than four months to collect all the information. He walked to all the sightseeing spots mentioned in the booklet to record how long it would take a bus passenger to reach them.
“Yan’an Elevated Road is one of the arterial roads crossing the city from East to West,” Fang said. “You can access not only the Bund and Yuyuan Garden but also a lot more places of interest.”