TIANJIN, June 11 (Xinhua) -- This largest port city in north China will soon start a 6.9-billion-yuan (830 million U.S. dollars) subway construction project, to help alleviate the congested transport situation in the city.
The Line 1 of the subway is expected to increase the city's original 7.4 km subway to more than 26 km, and upon completion by December 2005, it will be able to handle 48,100 people per hour.
Including Tianjin, some 20 Chinese cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou are now considering constructing subways or light railways in efforts to offset the increasing transportation pressure which is accompanying the country's rapid economic growth.
It is learned that a total 450 km of urban rail lines will be built in the next five years in a dozen cities in the country. Right now, several projects involving a total length of 167 km are under construction.
Considering China's economic growth rate and urban population, the level of rail transportation use stands relatively low.
So far, only five cities -- Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Tianjin, and Hong Kong -- operate subways or light rails with a total length of 193.4 km.
Tianjin's current subway, which went into operation in 1984, only handles 10,000 passengers per day.