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Old August 19th, 2012, 07:11 PM   #2281
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What are the alleged harms of illegal taxis?
Damage to legitimate taxi services and tax evasion?
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Old August 19th, 2012, 08:08 PM   #2282
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What are the alleged harms of illegal taxis?
I would think extortion or inflated fares would be a real issue, especially in the late night.
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Old August 20th, 2012, 12:21 AM   #2283
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I would think extortion or inflated fares would be a real issue, especially in the late night.
Bingo! But the quickest way to solve the problem, is to extend some metro/bus services. For instance, in Jiading, where I would often go to visit a Uni campus, the bus services would stop after about 9:30pm. So I would have to leave the city by about 6pm (it's a 1h45min journey from Yangpu District) or so to be able to take the bus. And as the particular station in question (Shanghai Automobile City) is on a highway/expressway. There are virtually no taxis.

Thus, you have 2 options, continue one station down to Anting City and take a taxi (about 30rmb fare from the city to the Uni) from there or take a black taxi from the SAC station (5rmb)...

If you've spent any time in China, you'll know that most people - even yourself if you've been there long enough - will always vie for the cheapest alternative. Even at the expense of safety (those black taxis don't heed traffic lights. the quicker they get you to your destination, the quicker they can return to the station to take someone else).

If they extended the buses at the very LEAST until the metro stopped service, they'd undercut the service of those black taxis, because you can take the bus for free if you transfer within a certain time frame from a Subway.

Problem solved
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Old August 20th, 2012, 05:40 AM   #2284
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Bingo! But the quickest way to solve the problem, is to extend some metro/bus services. For instance, in Jiading, where I would often go to visit a Uni campus, the bus services would stop after about 9:30pm. So I would have to leave the city by about 6pm (it's a 1h45min journey from Yangpu District) or so to be able to take the bus. And as the particular station in question (Shanghai Automobile City) is on a highway/expressway. There are virtually no taxis.

Thus, you have 2 options, continue one station down to Anting City and take a taxi (about 30rmb fare from the city to the Uni) from there or take a black taxi from the SAC station (5rmb)...

If you've spent any time in China, you'll know that most people - even yourself if you've been there long enough - will always vie for the cheapest alternative. Even at the expense of safety (those black taxis don't heed traffic lights. the quicker they get you to your destination, the quicker they can return to the station to take someone else).

If they extended the buses at the very LEAST until the metro stopped service, they'd undercut the service of those black taxis, because you can take the bus for free if you transfer within a certain time frame from a Subway.

Problem solved
That's very true. I was quite appalled that subway and maglev service from Pudong ends at around 9pm.

Last trains on the other lines hover around 10-11pm-ish, which is quite early, but is that the standard across all Chinese metros?
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Old August 20th, 2012, 07:27 AM   #2285
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By the way, a taxi form Pudong especially late in the evening is quite costly. I lived at Dapuqiao and the ride cost me more than 200 yuan, it was some 23 o'clock as I landed late, and the taxi driver couldn't cheat me as I know Shanghai quite well, so, the track was more or less straight. But still, 200 yuan is quite much.

For metro line 9 the last trains are at 22:47 and 22:54 respectively.
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Old August 20th, 2012, 03:46 PM   #2286
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That's very true. I was quite appalled that subway and maglev service from Pudong ends at around 9pm.

Last trains on the other lines hover around 10-11pm-ish, which is quite early, but is that the standard across all Chinese metros?
Yeah, but it's kind of weird because it also depends where you are going...Typically, that last train will leave either terminus at around 9. It all depends how near you are to that terminus. If you're at one end and need to get to the other, you have to catch it by 9. But if you live in the middle of a line, you have more options. I've been out until almost 11 and was still able to catch the subway home (Wujiaochang Station).

For example, I lived near Fudan in Yangpu and was going to SH Automobile City. Therefore, I had to take Line 10 from Jiangwan to Hailun, then transfer to Line 4, and finally get on Line 11 at Caoyang Rd. Because the terminus for line 11 (Jiangsu Rd.) was only 2 stops away, if I didn't make it to Caoyang by around 9:04pm. I wouldn't be able to make it to Jiading/Anting.

There were MANY times that I - and everyone else for that matter - had to run from the Line 3/4 platforms down into the Line 11 platforms in the basement

I think, because they are already operating at below the actual fare (in terms of what it actually costs them, per passenger, to run the cars), they don't run it at night because that cost is higher(?) At least, that's my assumption.
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Old August 21st, 2012, 04:36 AM   #2287
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I've seen that too...I've also noticed that many people won't submit to the security checks, because those officials are not police officers (think of them as the TSA, just not as mean lol). I've been wondering what they can do to alleviate those things.

What have you seen in other metros in regards to this?
In Guangzhou they are pretty tough on people who try to jump the gates. They have many Metro security guards stationed throughout the stations, and they will use a lot of intimidation on somebody who attempts to jump, or their card doesn't work for whatever reason. They are very fast and alert of things here. Usually, at least at the stations near where I live there are bike patrol police officers roaming the underground tunnels and streets nearby, just in case they need to spring into action at the Metro.
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Old August 21st, 2012, 03:38 PM   #2288
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In Guangzhou they are pretty tough on people who try to jump the gates. They have many Metro security guards stationed throughout the stations, and they will use a lot of intimidation on somebody who attempts to jump, or their card doesn't work for whatever reason. They are very fast and alert of things here. Usually, at least at the stations near where I live there are bike patrol police officers roaming the underground tunnels and streets nearby, just in case they need to spring into action at the Metro.
That's good...I've seen people just walk past the security check as if it wasn't there, which pisses me off...It's going to take something bad to happen before people just take the extra 10 seconds to send their bag through the scanner.
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Old August 21st, 2012, 05:42 PM   #2289
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I've seen people just walk past the security check as if it wasn't there, which pisses me off
If given the option, who wouldn't skip a security checkpoint? An individual has nothing to gain from submitting themselves for a checkpoint and something to lose: time and the fishing trip that police could go on to find things to confiscate or shake the person down for.
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Old August 21st, 2012, 10:41 PM   #2290
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Security checks on Shanghai Metro are utterly pointless. They are merely a way to employ the otherwise unemployable 4050s (people in their 40s and 50s made unemployed) and a convenient way to keep the population in check (or create such a perception).

As for illegal taxis - I agree the obvious solution is to improve public transport coverage and service quality, but the authorities and operators are just too conservative to depart from the status quo. As far as they are concerned the more they try the more potential for things to go wrong so why bother. For example to excuse for not having detailed timetables for low frequency bus routes is 'we'd just be giving passengers ammunition if we couldn't run to time'. Every now and then there does appear a service initiative of some kind but usually it's too little too late.
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Old August 22nd, 2012, 01:54 PM   #2291
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Are there any significant security threats which Chinese metros face such as terrorism?
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Old August 22nd, 2012, 03:11 PM   #2292
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Are there any significant security threats which Chinese metros face such as terrorism?
Terrorism is a persistent problem in China as Muslim fundamentalists from the northwest strike every now and then.
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Old August 22nd, 2012, 04:32 PM   #2293
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Security checks on Shanghai Metro are utterly pointless. They are merely a way to employ the otherwise unemployable 4050s (people in their 40s and 50s made unemployed) and a convenient way to keep the population in check (or create such a perception).
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If given the option, who wouldn't skip a security checkpoint? An individual has nothing to gain from submitting themselves for a checkpoint and something to lose: time and the fishing trip that police could go on to find things to confiscate or shake the person down for.
I just figure why be reactionary? If something DID happen, people would be asking "Why didn't we have security checks?" It's just better to be proactive. I doubt anyone expected those attacks on the Sarin gas on the Tokyo subway either.

Anyways, In most cases, they only stop you if you're carrying something the size of medium-sized luggage...I've seen people try to sneak animals in a box Besides that, it takes 10 seconds to throw it on the conveyor and send it through the scanner. It takes more energy to stand there and argue about it (which is what I meant pisses me off), rather than just set the bag down, wait a few seconds, and go...
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Old August 22nd, 2012, 08:41 PM   #2294
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Terrorism is a persistent problem in China as Muslim fundamentalists from the northwest strike every now and then.
When have terrorists ever hit a subway in China? You make it sound like the Abu Sayyaf or Islamic Jihad are operating in China when China has never experienced anything like the kind of suicide bombings seen in the UK, Russia, Israel, or Indonesia.

You've got to use a cost-benefit analysis when it comes to public policy. What are the costs of security checkpoints? Not only are there salaries of the guards to pay, but also the time lost to those checkpoints.

What are the benefits? Maybe one or two attacks prevented? I would guess zero terrorist attacks have been prevented because terrorists can easily hit a bus or different city's metro system if deterred by guards at one station. But since China has not seen a suicide bomb attack on a bus or metro system anywhere, that indicates the threat is not there. Another benefit might be a greater sense of security by metro riders.

I would argue that given China's excellent security situation there is no need for random checkpoints. Even if there's a suicide bomb attack, that still doesn't justify random checks because they will be ineffective in saving lives. If terrorists can't hit a metro, they'll hit a crowded bus. Which is exactly what the fourth and final London Tube bomber did in 2005.

In medicine, there are sometimes false positives. Medical tests sometimes say a person has cancer, then a follow-up test shows they don't. False positives cost money and cause needless stress. False positives occur in security too. A notable example is the case of Jean Charles de Menezes, an innocent Brazilian killed by jumpy and over-zealous police in the London Tube after the 2005 London Tube bombings. Police thought Menezes looked like another suspect they were following and plainclothes charged toward him. He got scared that they might be trying to mug him, hopped the turnstyles and fled into the metro where he was then shot in the head because police thought he might detonate a bomb. An innocent man who was the victim of an over-aggressive and paranoid security environment. Then there are all those innocent Muslim-Americans rounded up after Sept. 11, 2001. So false positives are another cost to security checks.

Finally, even if police checkpoints saved a few dozen lives, are they still the best use of resources? Let's suppose those checkpoints cost $10 million a year, and they're been operating for five years. In year 5, they intercept and prevent a suicide bomber that might've killed 30 people. So that's $50 million spent to save 30 lives. That $50 million could've been spent on medicine for pregnant women and young children or more police to catch drunk drivers and dangerous drivers?

Traffic accidents kill by far, FAR, FAAAAR more people in China and everywhere in the world except maybe Iraq than terrorists. Drunk drivers kill about 15,000 people every year in America, five times more than 9/11. Drunk and dangerous drivers, not terrorists, are the biggest threats to life in China.
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Old August 23rd, 2012, 12:35 AM   #2295
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I just figure why be reactionary? If something DID happen, people would be asking "Why didn't we have security checks?" It's just better to be proactive. I doubt anyone expected those attacks on the Sarin gas on the Tokyo subway either.

Anyways, In most cases, they only stop you if you're carrying something the size of medium-sized luggage...I've seen people try to sneak animals in a box Besides that, it takes 10 seconds to throw it on the conveyor and send it through the scanner. It takes more energy to stand there and argue about it (which is what I meant pisses me off), rather than just set the bag down, wait a few seconds, and go...
The point is the way baggage checks are carried out is completely ineffective. There's no way you can achieve the level of coverage required during peak periods otherwise you'd cause serious crowding. Just think about it - one security queue for about a dozen ticket gates - it just doesn't add up.

Anyhoo, the 'if something did happen' mentality is exactly what terrorists want. Even in the west the threat is manageable through intelligence, and carrying on as normal is the best way of sticking two fingers at terrorism. The way some people think they are all going to be bombed to smithereens tomorrow is utterly ridiculous and how anti-terror laws are misapplied everywhere just shows how utterly miserably the so called wars on terror have been lost.

That said, the threat in China is nowhere near the level faced by London or New York, and even those cities (who police forces are on the more dubious side might I add) are not subjecting commuters to those kind of 'checks'.
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Old August 23rd, 2012, 04:21 AM   #2296
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I personally think it's because all the scanners come from Nuctech, a subsidiary of Tsinghua Group, which is the domain of Hu Jintao's son. It's a rather suave way to enrich Hu Jintao's family at public expense.
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Old August 23rd, 2012, 04:55 AM   #2297
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When have terrorists ever hit a subway in China? You make it sound like the Abu Sayyaf or Islamic Jihad are operating in China when China has never experienced anything like the kind of suicide bombings seen in the UK, Russia, Israel, or Indonesia.

You've got to use a cost-benefit analysis when it comes to public policy. What are the costs of security checkpoints? Not only are there salaries of the guards to pay, but also the time lost to those checkpoints.

What are the benefits? Maybe one or two attacks prevented? I would guess zero terrorist attacks have been prevented because terrorists can easily hit a bus or different city's metro system if deterred by guards at one station. But since China has not seen a suicide bomb attack on a bus or metro system anywhere, that indicates the threat is not there. Another benefit might be a greater sense of security by metro riders.

I would argue that given China's excellent security situation there is no need for random checkpoints. Even if there's a suicide bomb attack, that still doesn't justify random checks because they will be ineffective in saving lives. If terrorists can't hit a metro, they'll hit a crowded bus. Which is exactly what the fourth and final London Tube bomber did in 2005.

In medicine, there are sometimes false positives. Medical tests sometimes say a person has cancer, then a follow-up test shows they don't. False positives cost money and cause needless stress. False positives occur in security too. A notable example is the case of Jean Charles de Menezes, an innocent Brazilian killed by jumpy and over-zealous police in the London Tube after the 2005 London Tube bombings. Police thought Menezes looked like another suspect they were following and plainclothes charged toward him. He got scared that they might be trying to mug him, hopped the turnstyles and fled into the metro where he was then shot in the head because police thought he might detonate a bomb. An innocent man who was the victim of an over-aggressive and paranoid security environment. Then there are all those innocent Muslim-Americans rounded up after Sept. 11, 2001. So false positives are another cost to security checks.

Finally, even if police checkpoints saved a few dozen lives, are they still the best use of resources? Let's suppose those checkpoints cost $10 million a year, and they're been operating for five years. In year 5, they intercept and prevent a suicide bomber that might've killed 30 people. So that's $50 million spent to save 30 lives. That $50 million could've been spent on medicine for pregnant women and young children or more police to catch drunk drivers and dangerous drivers?

Traffic accidents kill by far, FAR, FAAAAR more people in China and everywhere in the world except maybe Iraq than terrorists. Drunk drivers kill about 15,000 people every year in America, five times more than 9/11. Drunk and dangerous drivers, not terrorists, are the biggest threats to life in China.
So the logic is react after an actual attack when the prudent thing to do is to prevent it? Just because you don't recall an attack on a bus or subway doesn't mean it won't happen, especially when the Muslim fundamentalists are acting up. Try convincing the Americans about that logic.

Terrorism in China is alive and well. China's security situation is not as rosy as you may think. There are a lot of random events in the northwest, and it is very easy for the unrest to travel east towards the coast, where the large cities are situated.

Labour is very cheap in China, and adding a few security guards plus a scanning machine to do the screening won't break the bank. Considering the immense ridership Chinese metros get and government support, I don't think the added checks will cost much. Cost has never been an issue to begin with. There are always ways to get around it, such as a suicide bomber blowing himself up before the checkpoint, but it is meant to be a deterrent.

Time lost is minimal. I've gone through these in Shanghai before. It's a quick scan of large bags through the machine - not like the full airport suite of checks.

I don't think you can put a cost to the lives lost in a prevented terrorist attack. Just because more people may be killed in a car accident doesn't mean everything else that kills less can be neglected. 9/11 didn't kill a lot of people compared to heart disease, but people's reactions didn't proportionately follow.

This thing is similar to the random bag check the NYPD put into place for the New York subway. It's not meant to be 100% fail-proof, but the prospect of being randomly searched is enough of a deterrent for the terrorist to think twice before trying to do something funny.
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Old August 23rd, 2012, 09:04 AM   #2298
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I've lived in Shanghai and had to use the Metro to commute daily. No offense to them, but the metro security workers didn't seem to take their jobs seriously, or at least as seriously as airport security workers.

If there were bombings and shootings every week like in Israel, then that would be a reason to have real security staff (as opposed to the pretend ones they have now). But none of that is happening now, and even in Mumbai and Moscow, where the metro have been repeatedly bombed and attacked, there are no security checks. And besides, can't a determined terrorist bomb a crowded security line all the same?

Nope, it's quite obvious. The ubiquitous security checks in China are meant to enrich the family of Hu Jintao, and nothing more.
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Old August 23rd, 2012, 09:50 AM   #2299
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^ Yes, that too. I've seen some asleep at the switch. I wouldn't compare with Mumbai though. They couldn't even get a mass transport system working for such a large city, so I won't have much faith in them securing it. I don't think these checks are as intrusive as what the Americans did in New York after 9/11 either.
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Old August 23rd, 2012, 03:02 PM   #2300
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So the logic is react after an actual attack when the prudent thing to do is to prevent it? Just because you don't recall an attack on a bus or subway doesn't mean it won't happen, especially when the Muslim fundamentalists are acting up. Try convincing the Americans about that logic.
Anything *could* happen, but policy-makers have to make judgements on what is more or less likely to happen. The fact that China hasn't had a bus or metro bombing is telling when there are infinite opportunities for such an attack. Proactive security is infiltrating terrorist groups and running sting operations to catch them trying to recruit members or buy weapons. Setting up security checkpoints in metro stations is an inefficient and ineffective way to save lives.
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Labour is very cheap in China, and adding a few security guards plus a scanning machine to do the screening won't break the bank. Considering the immense ridership Chinese metros get and government support, I don't think the added checks will cost much. Cost has never been an issue to begin with. There are always ways to get around it, such as a suicide bomber blowing himself up before the checkpoint, but it is meant to be a deterrent.
Do you know how much it would cost in time and money to screen every passenger? Think about Harbin where it's very cold most of the year and everyone wears a heavy jacket that *could* be used to conceal a bomb. If your goal is to prevent or deter a suicide bomber in Harbin, then you would have to screen every person.

Moreover, policy-makers have scarce resources. Is screening random passengers the best use of scarce resources in order to save lives? As I stated, drunk drivers pose a far, far greater threat to life and health than Al Qaeda or any Xinjiang separatist group. The money that could be used slowing down passengers in the metro and not saving any lives could be used to better enforce anti-drunk driving laws and actually do something.
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I don't think you can put a cost to the lives lost in a prevented terrorist attack. Just because more people may be killed in a car accident doesn't mean everything else that kills less can be neglected. 9/11 didn't kill a lot of people compared to heart disease, but people's reactions didn't proportionately follow.
Policy-makers should always use a cost-benefit analysis, even if it's a very rough estimate. The rhetoric of "This program is a success if it saves even one life" sounds good but it's a poor tool for deciding which programs are more efficient at savings lives and health than others. Cost-benefit analysis doesn't mean spending money only on the single greatest cause of death. Cost-benefit analysis means looking at the marginal cost and marginal benefit on one more dollar into a certain program.

You cite 9/11 and that's a textbook example of overreaction to terrorism. After 9/11 there were soldiers patrolling the airport, bridges, power plants, a water treatment facilities. Police were arresting people for taking pictures of those buildings. It was a colossal waste of resources that quickly scaled back once people got their heads screwed on straight. I'm proud that I personally did not fall for the panicky over-reaction in 2001-2002.
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