Facts About the Shanghai Metro
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Facts About the Shanghai Metro

The Shanghai Metro is a rapid transit system to ease the transport needs of the city’s residents and visitors since it was first introduced in 1975. The system uses both subway or underground lines as well as a light railway and was the third city of mainland China behind both Beijing and Tianjin to use such a transit system.

Since its introduction the Shanghai metro has increased in size to become the world’s fastest growing rapid transit systems. There are currently eleven lines in use covering much of the city and its suburbs with 278 stations along the 434 kilometres or 270 miles of tracks in use.

As well as being the longest metro network in the world, it is also the world’s fifth busiest network with over 2 billion rides taken in 2011. It has a daily ridership record set at over seven and a half million during the World Expo in October 2010. The system is continually being expanded with further lines planned or currently under construction to add to those already in use.

Some of the most notable stations include the one at People’s Square where three lines interchange and it can become extremely crowded particularly during the peak hours of operating. It is close to some of the city’s major shopping and tourist centres on Nanjing Road and includes such attractions as the Shanghai Museum and Grand Theatre as well as People’s Square and Yan’an Park. This station has 17 exits to help passengers negotiate their way around this part of the city.

Xujiahui station is in the commercial district of the city of that name and the district is home to six large shopping malls and currently eight large towers containing offices within a three minute walk of the stations 18 exits. It currently holds the title of the station with the greatest numbers of exits and many of these are used as pedestrian tunnels to ease the crossing of the busy roads above.

Within the financial district of Pudong is the Lujiazui station, within easy walking distance of the station are many of the city’s landmark buildings such as the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, the Jin Mao Tower as well as the Shanghai World Financial Centre.

Shanghai Railway Station is served by three metro lines as well as a nearby bus station making it a major hub of the city’s transportation network. Line 1 is served by South square and lines 3 and 4, through the North square. These are effectively separate stations and interchanging between lines is only possible between 3 and 4 as transferring to line 1 requires a separate ticket.

Zhongshan Park station is heavily used due to being an interchange between three lines as well as having large shopping malls and hotels close by. Century Avenue station is the system’s largest interchange station with four separate lines converging here.

Pudong International Airport station at the eastern terminus of line 2 is extremely busy with passengers travelling to and from one of the city’s two international airports as well as being an interchange station for the high speed Maglev Train.

During the Shanghai World Expo of 2010, the station at Shibo Avenue on Line 13 was the main entrance for that exhibition. It, along with the rest of line 13 is currently closed and will not reopen until the line is completed at a later date.

The ticketing system uses a distance based fare with distances under 6 kilometres being 3 RMB (about £0.30p, or around $US0.50c) up to 10 RMB for journeys of a distance greater than the initial distance. Interchanging is possible between most stations although a small number of stations this is currently not possible without incurring a charge for the second stage of the journey due to having to pass the exit gate to transfer to the connecting line.

Visitors to the city generally use a single ride ticket, this is then slotted into the gate to gain exit and the electronic card is then reused at a later date. Many residents of the city use a Shanghai Public Transportation Card allowing for a 10% reduction on journeys for regular use. These cards can also be used across the city on buses and taxis. One day passes are also available at a cost of 18 RMB giving unlimited travel on the date of purchase. These are only available from service centres and not through ticket vending machines.

Many of the stations are fitted with screen doors protecting passengers from accessing the tracks. The train arrives at the station and the screen doors only open once the train is lined up with each door. Other stations have a similar system with screen doors or gates used to a height of around one metre from the ground. Very few stations are equipped with suitable facilities for use by disabled passengers.

The signage used in stations is generally in Mandarin Chinese and English, although some stations also use Japanese and Korean. Screens on the platform indicate the time until the next train and the one following that. Generally the trains are at five minute intervals although the availability is increased during peak use. Alternatively some lines may decrease services up to ten minute intervals during quieter travel periods.

Expansion of the network is planned to include 22 lines to be operational by the end of 2020, with close to 900 kilometres or 550 miles of track in use.

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Comments (3)

Another very interesting and detailed article. Thanks.

What a neat topic!

What an efficient and cost-effective system. It just goes to show just what is possible. Where does the investment come from?

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