Buses on their way to Shanghai's 2 major islands
Bus routes will finally be extended to Shanghai's two major islands, providing convenient public transport to almost 700,000 residents who live there.
Currently, the only public transport on and off Chongming and Changxing islands are ferries. But the Yangtze River Bridge and Tunnel Project, which is due to be completed later this year, will allow buses to reach the two islands for the first time.
Shanghai Transport and Port Bureau announced a package of plans over the weekend to open and alter bus routes. Among the list of 83 new routes planned for this year, three will connect Shanghai's islands to central areas of the city.
"Over the years, island residents have often complained about the lack of convenient transport to take them into the city," said Lu Yu, a member of the Shanghai Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the city's top advisory body.
According to Lu, the island residents also complained about the expense of ferries. Ferry tickets to the downtown areas range from 23 yuan (US$3.35) to 33 yuan. A bus journey covering a similar distance costs less than half that price.
Ferry services are also frequently stopped because of heavy fog, gales and other bad weather.
The Yangtze River Bridge and Tunnel Project will link Pudong to Changxing Island with a tunnel and connect Changxing to Chongming Island with a bridge.
Transport authorities also said they had started talks with other departments to make ferry fares cheaper in near future for the islanders.
In a recent proposal to the government, Lu called on authorities to substantially reduce ferry costs for islanders by incorporating the island ferry into the city's public-transit service category.
Operators of public transit vehicles are entitled to a government subsidy but the islands' ferries are currently run as a profit-making business and are not classified as public transportation.
(Shanghai Daily June 22, 2009)
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