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No countdown at the Bund this year
2014-12-25
By Ma Yue

IN what will come as a major disappointment to the city’s many New Year’s Eve revellers, the countdown at the Bund that attracted nearly 300,000 people last year has been canceled, Huangpu District police confirmed yesterday.

Instead, a few scaled-down activities were being organized across the city.

The New Year’s Eve countdown with 3D laser display had been growing in popularity for three years, but last year’s unexpected high turnout led to administrative difficulties with many revellers being forced to walk back home due to lack of public transport.

The laser display beamed on the historic Bund buildings would last for about 10 minutes and ended with fireworks at midnight. But hours before the show — as early as 9pm — the area would be clogged with crowds and traffic blocked or diverted.

Police said three years ago, when the countdown was organized for the first time, 100,000 people showed up. The numbers went up and touched a record high of 300,000 last year.

But dispersing the crowd became a massive administrative headache. Taxis were unavailable while public buses were jam-packed with people. Private vehicles cashed in, charging five times the cab fare.

Nanjing Road E. subway station on Line 2, the closest Metro in the area, was closed due to safety concerns. People walked for hours and vented their fury on the social media.

“The cancellation is a real pity,” Zhao Ziyu, an office worker told Shanghai Daily. Zhao was in the crowd last year and walked home. “I spent two hours in a bar after the countdown. I still did not get a taxi and had to walk all the way home.”

Luckily for her, Zhao lived in Hongkou District, not far from the Bund. Still, she had to walk for 40 minutes to reach home.

“The show itself was very good — a party for citizens. I still think they should find a way to disperse the crowd.”

The tourism authority, the organizers of the event, did not give any reason for the abrupt cancellation of the event.

A toned down version of the light show will be held at the Waitanyuan area where the Suzhou Creek meets the Huangpu River but it is not open to the public. Another seven-minute 3D laser show will light up the China Maritime Museum in Pudong’s Lingang New City.

Shengang Avenue, where the museum is located, will be closed to traffic on December 31 evening. Local organizers are expecting over 3,000 people.

Metro Line 16 will run services until after midnight on December 31 for the show. It is a 1.5-kilometer walk from the museum to its Dishui Lake Station.

Another countdown concert with light show will be held at the Oriental Pearl TV Tower on December 31. The concert, featuring Chinese mainland pop singers, will start at 11pm. Passes are available on Oriental Pearl’s WeChat account as well as with departmental stores in Pudong. Other New Year countdown activities around the city are yet to be announced.

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