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Expo Village officials try to solve problems

05-24-2010 14:19 BJT Special Report: Shanghai World Expo 2010 |

SHANGHAI - The Expo Village is continuing to encounter problems with residents complaining about the high level of security, expensive services and the slow response times to resolving problems.

"Most of the complaints have been about security, but we've already improved a lot of our services," said Peng Lijun, a senior supervisor with the Expo Management Department.

Organizers softened entry rules into the 2.65-square-kilometer village last month to allow taxis and takeaway food through the heavily policed gates. Guests, who have to be signed in, can now enter around the clock as an 11 pm curfew was axed due to strong opposition.

Other residents said they enjoy retreating to this well-equipped oasis of calm after finishing work at the bustling Expo Garden next door.

"It is way better than I expected," said Sinclair Ke, an advisor to the US Pavilion. "Here I have two refrigerators, a microwave, three telephones and three 38-inch plasma TVs."

Two serviced apartment complexes are in the village: Expo Jin Jiang and Expo Donghu apartment hotels.

Of the 2,447 guests registered at the village last week, about 1,400 are staying at the Donghu apartments, which are slightly cheaper.

About 98 percent of the village's residents come from overseas, said Peng.

Jin Jiang apartments, with 900 rooms in seven buildings, will "at least double" its room rates after Expo is over on Oct 31, said Maggie Zhang, the hotel's general manager.

A 26-square-meter serviced apartment currently costs 7,800 yuan ($1,150) per month, or 260 yuan a day.

A representative from the Albania Pavilion said he had encountered problems with the Jin Jiang's level of service.

"It took them two weeks to repair my air conditioner and I had to pay for an extra blanket, even though it wasn't my fault," he said. "At first they provided a computer and we only had to pay for the Internet, but now you have to pay 500 yuan a month to rent a computer that deletes all your programs every time you shut it down."

The larger Donghu apartments in 17 buildings may copy Beijing's Olympic Athletes' Village by turning its rooms into commercial properties when Expo is over.

"It hasn't been decided whether we will continue to operate as a hotel or sell the rooms as private residences after the Expo. They're discussing it now," said Austin Cai, the hotel's front office manager.

The commissioner-general of the Japan Pavilion and Jin Jiang guest Hiroshi Tsukamoto described the apartment rooms as "perfect" but questioned whether the village was doing enough to reflect the spirit of the Expo.

He suggested more social activities for guests to mingle.

"When my family and friends visit, I hope the access will be made easier," he said.

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: China Daily

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