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Beijing speeds up public transport building for 2008
    BEIJING, July 21 -- A top Beijing communications official vowed yesterday to speed up the building of transport facilities in readiness for the 2008 Olympic Games.

    "To hold the Olympic Games is a special historic opportunity for the development of communications in Beijing," Zhao Wenzhi, director of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Communications, said yesterday.

    She described her work to the Standing Committee of the Beijing Municipal People's Congress, the capital's top legislative body.

    Zhao's work will be appraised by local lawmakers, who appointed her in 2003.

    "The construction of 59 roads and four bridges serving Olympic venues will be accelerated," the official said.

    At the same time, 750 kilometres of road are to be repaired and upgraded.

    "Convenient facilities for handicapped and senior citizens will be put in place in road systems, public transport hubs, airports and railway stations," Zhao said.

    Public transport was given priority when Beijing was told it could host the 2008 Games, according to the official.

    In the subway system, Line No 5 and the first phase of No 10 will be completed, as well as special Olympic and airport lines. Three fast bus transit lines should also be finished.

    Public transport will have a special layout during the Games, according to Zhao.

    Bus drivers and other staff will receive training to improve their service in time for the great event.

    Zhang Yi, director of the Urban Construction and Environmental Protection Committee under the Standing Committee of the Beijing Municipal People's Congress, said yesterday that the public transport system is still not satisfactory.

    "The bus and subway systems are still small in scope," he said.

    Zhang also complained that the bus system did not meet public demand.

    "The current system is not good enough to steer people away from their private cars," he said.

    The rapid increase of private cars in Beijing is believed to be the main reason for traffic congestion.

    (Source: China Daily)

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