The Shanghai Senior Citizen Foundation hopes to expand a current program into next year that installs elevators in apartment buildings to help the city's elderly population, a foundation administrator told the Global Times Tuesday.
The program, which is currently in a pilot phase, plans to install elevators in seven walk-up residential buildings this year, though it has already drawn criticism for its cost to residents, some of whom will benefit little from the convenience.
The program is targeted at the city's senior citizen population. There are 3.5 million elderly residents in Shanghai, half of whom live in buildings without elevators, according to a news report by Shanghai Television Station. "We created the project because many elderly residents have a hard time climbing stairs, and we want to make their lives easier," said Li Ningguo, the foundation's vice director.
As of last week, only residents from two buildings have given their approval to participate in the program, which requires unanimous consent from apartment owners. The program began in February.
"It isn't reasonable for residents living on the first and second floors to pay for the elevators because they don't need them, while the cost for residents who live above the third floor is too high," a local resident told the news website eastday.com Monday.
Under the program, construction costs are shared by the local government, the Shanghai Senior Citizen Foundation and the building's residents.
In a building in Jing'an district that is participating in the program, households on the first and second floors must pay 4,500 yuan ($714) for their share of construction costs. Residents on the upper floors have to pay more. On the building's sixth floor, households need to pay about 10,000 yuan.
The price is a bit high, said Xia Mingzhu, who rents the first floor of a building participating in the program. "I paid 18,000 yuan (for four apartments) for the elevator because I do not want to stand in the way of elderly residents' access to an elevator," he said. "But I think the government should shoulder a greater percentage of the cost."
In the Jing'an building, construction costs total some 560,000 yuan. In addition, each household must pay an annual maintenance charge ranging from 295 yuan to 737 yuan depending on their floor. Households on the first floor are exempted.
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