BEIJING, CHINA: The Chinese capital plans to extend its subway network from the current 113.4 kilometers to exceed the 1,000 kilometer-mark by the year 2050 as part of its effort to ease serious traffic congestion in the city.
By then, subways would take up 50 percent to 60 percent of the passenger traffic in Beijing. In the downtown area, people could find a subway station after five minutes' walk, according to the Beijing Rail Transport Construction and Management Company.
The municipality has started construction of the No. 5 subway loop this year and will begin construction of two other subway lines towards the end of the year.
"It's the first time that construction of three subway lines ina city was launched simultaneously in the world," acknowledged LiuHongtao, deputy general manager of the company.
According to the company, the city will have 200 km to 300 km of subway on the eve of 2008 to cope with the needs of the Summer Olympic Games. By then, subways will undertake 20 percent of passenger traffic in Beijing, as against only 9.8 percent at present.
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