(BEIJING, October 7) -- Beijing opened the fifth line of its subway on Sunday in an effort to ease traffic congestion for its 15 million residents.
The 27.6-km line, which has a total of 23 stations, runs through the heart of the city from Tiantongyuan North Station in northern Beijing's Changping district to Songjiazhuang Station in southern Fengtai district.
It runs at four minute intervals with an average speed of 36km an hour, taking 49 minutes to complete the whole route.
Each station has its own characteristics, combining traditional and modern design. The new guiding system, the first in Beijing's subway, helps the passengers find the station from a nearby place. The information on the screen of each car tells the passengers where to transfer.
The subway cars, produced in the northeastern city of Changchun, are made of stainless steel without paint coating for the sake of environmental protection.
The cars are 20 cm wider and 50 cm taller than the older ones, which should give passengers more comfort.
The line provides live TV broadcast programs, and the passengers will be able to watch the Olympic events on TV next year.
In addition, each car has two camera control monitors to collect information for traffic command and security.
Each entrance has a designated place for the passenger to leave their bikes, and along the line there are also car parking lots.
Construction of the line started on December 28, 2002. Beijing used to have four subway lines with a total length of 114 km.
The Beijing municipal government plans to extend the subway length to 200 km next year with the construction of three new lines.
Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan, Secretary of CPC Beijing Municipal committee Liu Qi, Construction Minister Wang Guangtao, Beijing Mayor Wang Qishan attended the opening ceremony.