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Beijing subways offer replacement slippers

By Zheng Xin (China Daily)

08:44, July 09, 2012

In Beijing's Xi'erqi subway station, a staff worker tidies up slippers offered to passengers who have lost their footwear among the crowd. Kuang Linhua / for China Daily

Beijing Subway stations have begun offering replacement slippers for people who lose footwear in the crowds.

The service, available at most of the 182 stations in the city, was introduced to coincide with the hot weather, when many people wear flip-flops.

More than 200 slippers are available in Beijing, and at least five pairs are at each transfer station, where passenger traffic flow is the heaviest, said Sun Lijie, a publicity officer for the Beijing Subway.

He said every year staff members find shoes in underground passageways, carriages and platforms, especially during the summer.

"The slippers will serve as reserves to ensure passengers are not late for work or have to hop to the office," Sun said. "When one station is running short of backup slippers, we will allocate some from other stations temporarily."

Passengers who lose a shoe can ask any subway staff member for a pair of slippers, which are one-size-fits-all and come in several colors including blue, pink and yellow.

The service is the latest to be introduced by Beijing Subway to provide more convenience to commuters.

In the capital, commuters can borrow bikes to travel between their home and stations, while in Shanghai residents can also borrow bikes as well as umbrellas on rainy days.

However, many stations have seen a trend of items being loaned out but never returned.

Unlike the bike rental, Sun said people who request a pair of slippers do not need to register or leave their personal information.

"Having all the slippers back totally depends on the social morality of the public," Sun said.

Once returned, the footwear will be sterilized with disinfectant to prevent the spread of diseases.

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