People's Congress looks to new jobs, better transport
By Pan Haixia and Xu Jitao
Pledging to improve the life quality of its residents, Shanghai
has set the year 2010 as the deadline for "obvious improvement"
in its public transportation.
At the same time, the registered unemployment rate for the next
five years will be maintained at around 4.5 per cent.
At the Fourth Plenary Session of the 12th Shanghai Municipal People's
Congress, yesterday's group reviews stirred heated debate among
For the next five years, Shanghai will give full priority to the
development of public transportation. Already on the agenda is a
leap from the present 123 kilometres to 400 kilometres of metro
lines, and growth from 23.7 kilometres to at least 100 kilometres
of dedicated bus lanes, said Vice Mayor Yang Xiong at yesterday's
The difficulty passengers have in transferring between the metro
and buses and the incomplete public transport network, will also
see improvement, he said.
A newly released survey by the municipal government shows that by
the end of 2004, only 23.7 per cent of people who travel around
the city choose public transportation. If taxi users are excluded,
the figure stood at around 18.5 per cent. This number is one percentage
point lower than the number from a similar survey in 1986, even
though there are more buses available than there were 20 years ago.
"Due to the slowness and inconvenience of taking public transportation,
many people would rather ride bikes or motorcycles when they go
to work," said Xia Liqin with the Shanghai Decisionmaking and
The problem will be alleviated in the next five years when more
metro lines are put in use, she said, but the pressure from heavy
traffic on roads will still be intense.
According to Congress deputy Wei Ming, the number of vehicles in
the city increases by around 100,000 every year. The city has now
more than 1.8 million vehicles.
A reshuffle of some the city's bus routes is possible. With the
construction of more metro lines, the city will shift some bus routes
from the urban area to the suburbs, which are still short of public
The 2010 World Expo is a major challenge facing the still fragile
public transportation system. The Expo is expected to bring about
70 million visitors to the city between May 1 and October 31 in
2010. "Combined with the number of other visits to the city,
Shanghai expects to handle around 140 million visitors that year,"
The issue of unemployed youth in the city was brought up by Congress
members from different districts at yesterday's meeting.
This new group of unemployed people is calling for solutions for
According to Vice Mayor Zhou Taitong, the registered unemployment
rate remained at around 4.5 per cent last year. But the number of
unemployed between the ages of 20 and 30 increased.
Zhang Yuanyuan, a Congress deputy from Yangpu District carried out
an investigation in 2005 in the Chen'er Residential Community where
she lives. Of the 65 cases of quarrels and even fighting revealed
by the survey, one-third involved unemployed young people in the
"Unemployment of young people now has become their parents'
biggest problem," she said, referring to them as "ken
lao zu," meaning youngsters who devour their parents.
Ji Lanfang, an officer from the Social Work Association of No2 Ruijin
Road in the Luwan District, pointed out that the direct cause of
the increasing unemployment in this age group is that the number
of students recruited by the universities and colleges were increased
drastically in the last few years. "Now more and more students
are graduated from the universities, but the job opportunities have
not increased accordingly," she said, adding that the problem
would become serious if it could not be solved quickly.
Congress deputy Gan Weigang, also an official of the Zhabei Labour
and Social Security Bureau, said the Expo in 2010 would be a good
opportunity for resolving the problem. "Local government should
support the new industries which the Expo will bring," he said.
According to Zhou Taitong, two vocational education centres have
been put into use and four others are expected to open to unemployed
young people in a few months. "In the future, the municipal
government will ask all the district governments to build similar
centres," he added.