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Different ticket price plan to cut Metro crush
By Yang Jian

SHANGHAI’S subway operator plans to charge different ticket prices for rush hour and off-peak travelers in a bid to reduce overcrowding at peak times.

Rush hour commuters will be charged more for their tickets, while discounts will be offered for off-peak times, said Shao Weizhong, vice president of city’s Metro operator Shentong Group.

It is hoped that this will encourage companies and commuters to stagger their working hours or adopt flexitime.

Speaking from the sidelines of the annual session of the Shanghai People’s Congress, the city’s legislative body, which ended yesterday, Shao said Shentong had completed its initial work on the project.

“We are still waiting for coordination with the city government to carry out the scheme,” Shao said.

No timescale nor indication of price differentials was available.

On average, there were 8.4 million subway journeys every day last year, and the number will increase to 9 million this year, said Sun Jianping, chief of the Shanghai Transport Commission.

Lawmaker Hu Min proposed work times should be staggered by sector — with education, factories, health, and offices working different hours.

Most people head to work between 8am and 9am, causing congestion, Hu said.

The Shanghai Government Development and Research Center, the city government think tank, has said it will consider staggering working hours in a bid to help reduce congestion.

In the 1990s, Shanghai staggered working hours downtown among government offices, companies and businesses.

City-level government offices started work at 9am, their district-level counterparts and state-owned companies at 8:30am, while downtown stores usually opened for business about 10am.

This was later dropped following the mass construction of subways and increased number of private vehicles.

Staggered hours and flexitime have been offered by employers in some countries since the 1970s. In some German cities, government bodies work between 9am and 3pm, while commercial and service industries start work at 10am.


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