Expo struggles under weight of holiday visitors

08:04, September 26, 2010      

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The World Expo 2010 in Shanghai struggled to cope with the more than 1.5 million visitors it received over the three-day Mid-Autumn Festival vacation.

The large number of visitors peaked on Thursday, which saw the highest daily passenger flow so far at 631,200, leading to grueling waits outside pavilions and for public transport.

According to various volunteers around the park, even pavilions such as the Pacific Pavilion that usually see a free flow of visitors had queues outside of them on Thursday.

"We usually don't keep people queuing up outside, but visitors needed to wait for up to one hour," director of the Pacific Pavilion, Bernadette Rounds Ganilau, told the Global Times. He said that the 70,000 visitors to the pavilion on Thursday was almost triple its daily average for the previous week.

The Oil Pavilion, which closed off its queuing space at 5:20 pm on Thursday, set a new record for pavilion queuing in the park at 9 hours and 20 minutes.

Crowds pouring into the Expo over the past three days also put pressure on public transport both inside and outside the park.

According to some visitors, the bus line along Longhua Road East in the Puxi section of the Expo Park struggled to handle the load on Thursday.

"We waited in a queue extending for hundreds of meters for more than half an hour before we finally pushed ourselves into a fully-packed bus," said a woman surnamed Wu, who traveled from Ningbo especially for the Expo. "I can't imagine what it would have been like if the weather had been hotter." She added that, due to the crowds and long queues, she had only had time to go into three pavilions that day.

However, Wu said that the park was far less crowded when she visited Friday.

People hoping to beat the scramble for public transport, which usually takes place at 10 pm, by leaving earlier on Thursday were out of luck. "The line for taxis became really slow from 8 pm since few taxis were arriving while more visitors were joining the queue," a traffic assistant surnamed Long said.

Local media reported that 3,000 additional taxis were sent to stands around the Expo Park, while the number of traffic police and traffic assistants was also doubled.

In the meantime, each of the five subway lines with stops near the Expo Park had an additional train put on.

"We stopped some escalators to slow down the pace at which people gathered on platforms," said Li Yao, head of Yaohua Road station, which saw around 200,000 passengers pass through it on Thursday, one of the station's busiest-ever days.

Source: Global Times(By Ni Dandan)


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