Guangzhou on track for second metro train route
The Guangzhou municipal government is preparing to launch bidding and construction for the city's second metro route, despite troubles financing the city's first subway line.
'We are moving ahead with Line No 2,' said Lu Jinhua, deputy general manager of the Guangzhou Metro Operation Co.
He said bidding on Line No 2 would begin soon, while civil construction on the planned 26-kilometre, 22-station project was expected to start before the end of the year.
Mr Lu said work on the line would proceed as scheduled in spite of the city's difficulties financing the 12.7 billion yuan (about HK$11.8 billion) Line No 1.
Those troubles were attributed to Guangzhou's sluggish real estate market, which reduced the city's income from land-leasing at station sites along the rail route and forced the municipal government to turn to China Construction Bank for four billion yuan in lending.
Financing difficulties have also delayed the tender and purchase of the final 16 of the intended 37 trains for use on Line No 1.
When the line begins full service in July 1999, transport capacity will be 55,800 passengers an hour - half the long-term goal.
To help bolster revenues, the city is considering making subway fares substantially higher than those of Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin, which have similar metro systems.
Fares as much as eight yuan to travel the full length of the route are being studied.
Mr Lu believes an eight-yuan fare is unacceptable to most urban residents, but he admitted that the metro company was considering a full fare of six yuan.
Meanwhile, training of more than 800 personnel responsible for operating the subway system is under way.
According to Reinhard Pankow, project manager for the metro's consultancy Hamburg-Consult, managerial and workplace familiarisation training for Guangzhou Metro Corp (GMC) senior and middle management is ongoing.
Hamburg-Consult is under a German government-funded contract to assist in project safety and personnel training for the subway.
Mr Pankow said much of the training was being done in Hong Kong with co-operation from the Mass Transit Railway Corp (MTRC), where more than 230 GMC senior and middle managers had taken part in courses and hands-on exercises.
Mr Pankow said MTRC staff had also been sub-contracted to supervise training of metro personnel in Guangzhou.