Political advisers propose extending Metro service hours

Ke Jiayun
While Shanghai is building more Metro lines, it might be a good time to extend service hours to accommodate passengers who have to transfer around the entire network.
Ke Jiayun

While the city is building more Metro lines, it's a good time to extend service hours to accommodate passengers who have to transfer around the entire network, said a political adviser at a panel discussion during the annual session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Shanghai Committee, which concluded early this week.

The appeal was made by Kenneth Yeh, a local political adviser from Hong Kong and also general manager of Uni Shine (Shanghai) Realty, who is seeking a two-hour extension of Metro operating hours, especially lines that link airports.

"Shanghai has a big Metro network for people to travel on, but different lines ending service at different times causes inconvenience sometimes," Yeh said. "If service hours can be extended a bit longer, that will cover many people's transportation needs."

He cited Metro Line 2's last train from Pudong International Airport to East Xujing departing at 10:30pm.

"During the pandemic, people have many checks and procedures to go through," Yeh said. "We often see people at Pudong airport standing in very long lines to catch taxis after Metro service ends. Moreover, the last train from East Xujing to the airport departs at 9:30pm."

He suggested the government research on the cost and difficulties Metro operations would face by extending hours, improve time management and make changes to the current timetable.

He cited examples of other big cities around the world, such as London, Seoul, Moscow and Tokyo, where last trains commonly depart at midnight or later, and the New York City subway system which normally runs 24 hours a day but currently shuts down between 1am and 5am due to the pandemic.

Shum Yam-wa, another local CPPCC member and chairman of medical equipment manufacturer Heal Force, focused on the service hours of Metro Line 17, which runs from the Hongqiao Railway Station in Minhang District to Oriental Land in Qingpu District.

In Shum's proposal, suburban Qingpu, where the annual China International Import Expo is held, would develop stronger connections with downtown areas to coincide with the city's advances in its economy, tourism and the integration of the Yangtze River Delta region.

Currently, Line 17's last train departs from Hongqiao at 10:30pm, while the last train from Qingpu departs at 10pm — earlier than some other lines — which doesn't meet local residents' growing needs to travel at night amid the emerging night economy.

He said research shows that many commuters living in Qingpu think the line's current service hours don't meet their needs during situations like working overtime and late arrivals by railway and air.

Shum suggested the government and related authorities help the Metro and bus companies set up a cooperative system. He also thinks extending Line 17's service hours by 30 minutes and adjusting bus routes at night to include more stops would be beneficial for passengers unable to catch the last trains.

In this year's Two Sessions, which ended on Wednesday, several proposals have been made to local Metro operators about matters such as promoting COVID-19 prevention and control at stations, planning new lines and creating special carriages for the elderly, weak, sick and pregnant.

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