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Guangzhou subway fares set to drop
By Zheng Caixiong (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-12-13 06:13

GUANGZHOU: Subway fares could be cut in the Guangdong provincial capital in the coming months.

Guangzhou Municipal Price Bureau held a public meeting yesterday morning to discuss prices for the metro service in Guangzhou.

Proposals that would favour people travelling longer distances were agreed, according to Lan Lan, an official with Guangzhou Municipal Bureau of Price.

Guangzhou Metro Corporation had offered three proposals for its shake-up of fares earlier this year amid growing calls from residents to cut the price of tickets. All three plans would offer cheaper prices overall to their underground passengers.

The preferred third option still has to wait for final approval from Guangzhou municipal government, Lan told China Daily yesterday.

She said her bureau transferred the result of the hearing to upper authorities for final review and approval after yesterday' meeting.

According to the third plan, metro passengers will pay an initial 2 yuan (US$25 cents) within 4 kilometres and increase 1 yuan (US$12 cents) for every 4 kilometres after that.

Fares will increase by 1 yuan (US$12 cents) for every 6 kilometres after travelling 12 kilometres, and 1 yuan (US$12 cents) for every 8 kilometres after 24 kilometres.

"That indicates the longer distance passengers will take, the more preferential prices will be given to them after the new plan is introduced in the future," Lan said.

Under the new system, passengers will pay only 5 yuan (US$62 cents) to complete the current 13-station Metro Line One a 1 yuan (US$12 cents) reduction from the current fare.

Guangzhou Metro Line began in 1997 and runs from Fangcun District in the western part of the city, crossing the Pearl River, to end in Guangzhou Tianhe Railway Station.

More than 100 government officials, experts and local residents' representatives attended the hearing yesterday. They included Shen Zhichao, director of Guangzhou Municipal Bureau of Price and the senior executives from Guangzhou Metro Corporation.

Many local residents yesterday praised the proposed cuts.

Wu Shanyin, a housewife, said Guangzhou's metro fares could be reduced because they have been higher than those in Beijing and Shanghai.

"The monthly income of Guangzhou residents has not been more than their friends and relatives in Beijing and Shanghai," Wu told China Daily.

Hu Zhaoguang, an office worker, said the price reduction would benefit both the metro company and passengers.

He hoped the metro system would further improve after the fare cuts.

Hu, 39, who works in a foreign-funded company, mainly uses the underground to reach his office in Tianhe District, a new business centre in Guangzhou.

One executive at Guangzhou Metro Corportation, who refused to be named, said profits would not be hit by the reduction as more passengers would be encouraged to use the subway.

There are currently two metro lines in Guangzhou.

Metro Line Two, which started service in 2002 and runs from the south to north, connects with the Metro Line One that operates from east to west in Gongyuanqian.

The city's metro service attracts more than 1.5 million passengers every year.

Guangzhou municipal government plans to construct up to seven metro lines to form a comprehensive underground network in the coming years to try to reduce congestion on the roads.

It would see the total length of the city's metro tracks reach more than 500 kilometres.

(China Daily 12/13/2005 page3)

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