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Metro Line 5 to be extended to southern suburbs
By Yang Jian

THE city is planning a southbound extension of Line 5 to suburban Fengxian District to address the needs of residents living in areas close to the sea, officials said yesterday.

Among them are students and staff of Fengxian's university town who now must make time-consuming commutes via regular bus services.

Sun Jianping, director with Shanghai Transport and Port Administration, said they are "still doing further research" on the plan.

"Each district and county in Shanghai will be covered by subways in the future," said Sun. Suburban districts like Fengxian and Jinshan as well as Chongming County are not served by the Metro.

To improve transit options for Fengxian District before the subway can be extended, the city will implement a rapid transit bus service with exclusive bus lanes. Shanghai will start to build its rapid bus system this year. The bus system is expected to start in Fengxian District and link to the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center in the Pudong New Area along its route of more than 40 kilometers. It's also expected to take pressure off Metro Line 8.

As the Metro expands, maintenance work on older lines is also picking up.

Shanghai's Metro operator will launch an overhaul this year among lines in service more than five years to ensure safety, said Guo Haipeng, an official with the transport administration.

Each day the Metro network handles about 6 million riders on its 12 lines. The number tops 7 million on peak days.

Three new subway lines and extensions will be put into service this year, said traffic officials, with the expectation that rider volume will continue to rise.

The operator also will continue to restrict passenger flows at some stations on busy lines including lines 6 and 8 during rush hours this year.

"The limits are mainly to ensure operational safety, though it may cause inconvenience to passengers," said Guo.

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