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Expo organizers shift into high gear

By Wei Tian (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-04-24 06:47
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 Expo organizers shift into high gear

Visitors flock to the rabbit-shaped Macao pavilion during the test run of the Shanghai Expo on Tuesday. An estimated 70 million people from around the world are expected at the six-month event, which opens May 1. Gao Yuwen / for China Daily

Solutions found for problems detected during trial operation

SHANGHAI - With just about a week left for the Shanghai Expo to open, the organizers of the mega event have shifted to high gear to eliminate certain problems exposed during the trial operations since Tuesday.

The Expo organizers have received feedback from some 200,000 people who visited the venue during the trial run.

An estimated 70 million people from around the world are expected at the six-month event, which opens May 1.

"The aim of the test run was to identify problems, if any, so that we could make changes accordingly," said Xu Wei, a spokesman for the Expo bureau. "It's not a surprise to us that there are some rough patches that need to be ironed out."

For instance, reservations to visit the China pavilion were shut down due to the unexpected large crowd. And many visitors were left starving as eateries at the Expo Garden ran out of food.

Inadequate directions at some of the eight entrances resulted in overcrowding. The waiting time at the Shangnan Road and West Gaoke Road entrances was more than an hour, compared with an average of less than 30 minutes at the other entrances.

"More than 60 percent of the visitors took the metro (mainly line 7), which resulted in overcrowding at the entrances nearest to the stations," the spokesman said.

He advised Expo visitors to avoid the peak hours, which is around 9 am, and use the Puxi side gates to enter the venue.

He also said more manpower and facilities will be used for security checks at the entrances once the event kicks off.

Those who wish to visit the China pavilion need to make reservations via booking machines installed at various locations in the Expo venue.

But a number of visitors during the trial run complained that some of those machines stopped working.

As a solution, tickets for the China pavilion will be distributed by 80 volunteers at the Expo Garden.

However, visiting some other pavilions will still require prior booking at the reservation machines.

As for difficulties in finding food at the venue, Xu said the only reason eateries ran out of stock was because they weren't expecting so much traffic during the trial operation.

"We've summarized some key issues that have come to light during the six test runs," said Xu. "We hope the experience will help us provide better service to the tourists."

Lu Minfeng, who visited the Expo Garden on the fourth day of the trial, said he followed all instructions published in the local newspapers. "So I chose to enter from Changqing Road, which took me just a few minutes to pass the security check."

The Expo Garden will remain open from 9 am to midnight every day from May 1 to Oct 31.

A single-day ticket costs 160 yuan on normal days and 200 yuan on appointed days, including the Labor Day holiday (May 1-3), National Day holiday (Oct 1-7), and the last week before closing (Oct 25-30).

A three-day pass costs 400 yuan, while a seven-day pass costs 900 yuan. A night pass, which allows entrance after 5 pm, costs 90 yuan.

China Daily

(China Daily 04/24/2010 page2)


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