Pavilions step up verification for seniors, disabled
SHANGHAI - Expo organizers have advised pavilions to adjust their policies to once again allow easy-access entrances, while the pavilions prefer to run their own queuing restrictions.
"We've received complaints from visitors on the altered restrictions of easy-access entrances at the pavilions, which was quite inconvenient for the vulnerable groups," said Wu Ximeng, team leader of the public service department in the Tourist Service Center at the Expo Garden. "We hope that more pavilions pay more attention to the disabled in particular," Wu told China Daily.
Since last Friday, when the Sweden Pavilion became the first to close its easy-access entrance for tourists, other pavilions, including Austria, Thailand, Romania, Oman, and United Arab Emirates, have followed suit.
"We started the three-day trial for closing the special line for tourists last week and the situation turned out to be pretty impressive when two queues became one queue," Kristina Schubert-Zsilavecz, media and communication officer of the Austria Pavilion, explained to China Daily, adding that they would continue shutting the easy-access entrance for visitors.
According to Wu, a unified regulation on the easy-access entrance for all the pavilions is under discussion and hopefully will ease the serious queuing situation for popular pavilions, which have to close the easy-access entrances due to the increasing crowds with improper behaviors, including some pretending to be disabled to gain easy and quick access.
However, not all the pavilions agree to accept the ongoing unified easy-access entrance policy in the near future.
"I think it's better not to run the same regulations among all the pavilions because we have to consider the different sizes, popularity and actual situations of pavilions. We prefer running our own rules on the special line which is best suitable for us," Schubert-Zsilavecz said.
To avoid tourists pretending to be disabled, those pavilions that are maintaining easy-access entrances will check their legitimate disabled badges or senior citizen identity cards.
"The disabled or the elderly have to show their legitimate disabled badges and identity cards to prove that they qualify to take the entrance," said Li Jialiang, operation manager of the Poland Pavilion.
In order to meet the rapidly rising demands for wheelchairs in the Expo Garden, 1,000 extra wheelchairs have been ordered by the public service department.
"Currently, we have 1,000 wheelchairs for rent at seven gates of the Expo Garden. The disabled can rent one by showing their disabled badges and they can return the wheelchair to either gate in the end," said Wu.
Some 500 wheelchairs are placed in several pavilions, but they have to be returned to the exits at the end of their tour at each pavilion, he said, adding that more wheelchairs will be ordered in the future based on the demands.
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