Saturday, 6 May 2017

CHINA: Canton Fair And The Popular Water Buses

Guangzhou is like a spring outing and is more interesting than participating in the exhibition online.The number of passengers who took buses and water buses reached 120,000 in five days, according to the city’s traffic department.

The most popular means of travel by Chinese and foreign exhibitors were the special water bus, the city tourist bus, or the Ruyue bus tours.

One trader of device accessories from Holland, Daan, who called himself "an old friend" of Canton Fair, was profuse in his praise of the water bus.

He said the boat took him directly to his hotel. During the river trip, he could view the Canton Tower, and his hour’s journey cost just a few yuan. Even during busy negotiations on board, he could drink Cantonese morning tea, eat dim sums and observe the scenery. He said the boat ride was convenient and comfortable and felt like poetry on the water.

Louis, who comes from New Zealand, prefers taking the city sightseeing bus. During the journey, he can enjoy the scenery and the landmarks of Guangzhou, including Canton Tower, Haixinsha Island, Yuntai Garden, Xinghai Concert Hall, Beijing Lu, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street, and Chen Clan Academy.

He has a sketch book and composed pictures of the scenery as the bus passed various sites. The multiple languages offered on the bus enabled him to learn quickly about the scenery and history of Guangzhou.

Louis plans to use a computer with special effects when he returns home to make a travelogue of Guangzhou, that he can send to friends as souvenirs.

The Nansha International Cruise Home Port, currently under construction, is expected to open in 2019. Capable of accommodating 225,000-ton and 100,000-ton cruise ships, the port is projected to host 750,000 passengers per year, an official of the home port said.

The Nansha Cruise Terminal, located at the southernmost seashore of Guangzhou, opened service in January 2016 to cater to Chinese mainland travelers who have shown a growing interest in cruise travel.

The terminal launched 104 cruises carrying over 326,000 passengers last year. Those statistics helped catapult Nansha into China’s third-busiest cruise terminal in terms of annual passenger flow, after Shanghai and Tianjin.

Xu Manping, head of the School of Ship Engineering at Guangzhou Maritime University, said the city holds an edge in the cruise industry.

"Development of the cruise industry in an area depends on a number of factors, such as its climate and hinterland, which ensures a tourist base," he said. "But at the same time, sound facilities in ship manufacturing, maintenance and a developed transportation network are also essential for its development to ensure smooth operation of the whole business in the area. In this sense, Guangzhou has an edge."

The new Nansha Ferry Terminal and an extension of metro Line 4 will be constructed near the Nansha International Cruise Home Port, making it possible to arrive at most cities in the Pearl River Delta region within one hour.

As the first port open to the public in China, the home port will be equipped with high-end restaurants and duty-free shopping malls, as well as art exhibitions and displays. It will provide services not only for cruise visitors, but also for citizens living near the port, according to an official of the Nansha International Cruise Home Port.

After the bike sharing, car sharing is becoming popular in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and other cities across China. Now a number of car sharing rental platforms are entering the Guangzhou market, among them are Yidu, Ur Car, Gofun Chuxing, Jiabei, and Dingdong Chuxing.

A newly established Car-sharing Special Committee of the Guangzhou Association of Highway Transportation recently issued China’s first service specification of self-discipline, includes two regulatory documents setting industry standards. One sets up service requirements for car sharing, while the other relates to credit management for the new operations. Both regulations are being enforced on a trial basis.

Guangzhou has 2,650 shared cars on the market as of today, but 13 electric car companies plan to put 20,400 cars on the road by the end of the year, according to data from the committee.

The committee will bundle the car sharing enterprises so that consumers only will need to pay a deposit once and then can use various types of sharing cars from different companies.

The companies also can share spaces for the cars, according to Cai Zhenbo, general manager of Guangdong Ding Dong Network Technology Co., Ltd, one of the committee members.

Gofun Chuxing is an app for renting cars. One customer tested the steps for renting a car on the app. After downloading the app and inputting a phone number for registration, you upload an identity card and driving license information and make a deposit. The process takes 10 to 15 minutes.

After the registration, the renter will have 15 free minutes to search for a car and unlock it. The system will recommend nearby vehicles. You then select a location for returning the car, click “Wo yao yong che” (I need to use the car), according to its location and license plate number, then click “Yi jian jie suo“ (Unlock by one key), and the door automatically opens.

The operator should buy insurance for the vehicle, according to the regulations.

The parking problem of car sharing has attracted much attention. The specifications stipulate that the operator should use electronic fences or other technological measures to prevent indiscriminate parking, and assure the safety and order of the city.

The specifications encourage the enterprises to use facial recognition, fingerprints and other biometric data to register and implement the actual driver verification system, to ensure that the actual driver of the vehicle is the registered renter.

All metro lines in Guangzhou will remain in operation an extra hour from April 29 to May 1 during the May Day holiday, according to metro officials.

They expect the average passenger flow to reach 8.6 million during the three-day holiday. The number of passengers on April 28 will exceed 9 million during rush hour. The peak surge of passengers will occur on May 1, when metro officials say 9.3 million people will ride the rails. Metro authorities have arranged 20 standby trains in cases of emergency.

About 125,000 extra tickets will be made available to ease the congestion of passengers during the holiday. Security checks will be implemented.

Passenger flow control and the temporary passing by of stations near tourist attractions, shopping centers and transportation hubs may be implemented when the trains are overcrowded. Authorities warned that passengers should plan travel by keeping abreast of the most recent information available.