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Tourists confused by Qianmen maze

The historic area of Qianmen has become a labyrinth for tourists, leaving many lost and confused by its disjointed underpasses and road barriers, local workers say.

The government installed road barriers to separate Tian'anmen Square from neighboring Qianmen avenue last year.

Now, Tian'anmen Square can only be accessed via tunnels that pass underneath the road.

There are currently seven disjointed underpasses plus three subway exits in the area, creating a maze-like underground system.

"Dozens of tourists come to me everyday saying they get lost when attempting to get into the square from the surrounding Qianmen area," Sun Huaqiang, a traffic warden near Tian'anmen Square, told METRO yesterday.

"Clear instruction boards would make the current situation a lot better.

"The tourists usually need to get into the square by taking underpasses one after another, which makes the route difficult to explain.

"Some tourists have no idea where the underpass is."

A young woman surnamed Liu from Heilongjiang province said she found it difficult to locate the underpasses.

"After taking the underpass as the instruction board said, we are told to find another one," she said.

The Administration of Tian'anmen Area, the authority in charge of the area, has established a hotline for tourist complaints. Calls to the number went unanswered yesterday.

A cleaner surnamed Li told METRO that "guiding and direction" has become part of her job now.

"Most people stop me and ask how to take these underpasses. If they could be connected together, it will be more convenient," the woman said.