Beijing will open three new subway lines for trial operation by Sunday to ease traffic and cope with the passenger surge during the Olympics.
The new links will increase the number of subway lines in the Chinese capital to eight and the length of track to 200 km from the current 142 km, Zhou Zhengyu, Beijing Municipal Committee of Communications deputy head, told reporters in Beijing on Thursday.
The Airport Line links the downtown area with the new Terminal 3 at the Beijing Capital International Airport in the northeastern suburbs. Another is the Olympic Branch Line that will carry spectators to the main Games' venues in northern Beijing. Line No.10 runs northwest to southeast in the shape of a right angle.
"The three new lines improve the city's transport network," Zhou said. "It's a new milestone. We plan to lengthen the subway distance to 560 km in Beijing by 2015."
The trains used for the new lines can carry 1,424 passengers each, or 344 more than those on other lines, he added.
However, he would not disclose the specific date the new lines would be put into operation.
It is expected that about 5 million people will take the subway each day during the Olympics. The three new lines will carry up to1.1 million passengers daily, according to a forecast by the Beijing Mass Transit Railway Operation Co. Ltd.
Zhou said last month, that to facilitate public transport during the Olympics, local authorities would increase the number of buses and subway trains and extend their daily operating hours. In addition, 66,000 taxis would provide 24-hour service.
About 2 million domestic tourists and 450,000 overseas tourists will visit Beijing during the Olympics, the Beijing Games organizing committee and Beijing municipal tourism bureau has forecast.