Beijing opened a new subway line on Sunday in a bid to boost public transport and ease road congestion ahead of the Olympics.
Beijing's No. 5 subway line, which runs through the heart of the city from north to south, opened at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday.
The 27.6-km line, after nearly five years' construction,is installed with 23 stations and runs from Tiantongyuan North Station in northern Beijing's Changping district to Songjiazhuang Station in southern Fengtai district.
Construction of the new subway line began in December, 2002 and involved 12 billion yuan (about 1.6 billion U.S. dollars) in investment.
Equipped with a wireless communication network, live broadcasts will be provided on televisions installed in each subway car and passengers will never lose the signal on their mobile phones.
The subway cars are wider and taller than the ones operating on the older lines and are designed to reach speeds of 80 km per hour. Elevators designed to aid disabled people have been installed.
Prior to this, Beijing had four subway lines with a total mileage of 114 km transporting about 1.15 million passengers daily, 15 percent of the total commuters.
According to the municipal government, Beijing will add three subway lines next year and the total mileage will reach 200 km.
The launch of the new subway line is among Beijing's recent efforts to ease road congestion and improve air quality ahead of the Olympics.
Also on Sunday, a new subway pricing system was adopted, cutting subway fares by about 30 percent. Now a one-way ticket costs just two yuan (27 U.S. cents), nearly the price of a bottle of purified water, no matter how long one travels and how many times one transfers between lines.
Editor: canton fair