PROPOSALS for a first metro line in the Chinese city of Xi’an were unveiled by the Municipal Planning Committee in March. The 19·4 km route would link the western suburb of Xinxibei to Fangzhi in the east via the city centre. Construction is scheduled to start in 2002, with opening envisaged in 2006.

The line is costed at 5·65bn yuan, of which the central government is expected to contribute 1·2bn. Project Manager Guo Xiangsheng says that the line will ’greatly ease the pressure on surface transport, ease urban traffic congestion and improve the tourist and investment environment, as well as spurring local economic development.’ A feasibility study says the line would carry 510000 passengers a day by 2009, rising to 700000 in 2016 and 900000 in 2031.