Sunday, November 23, 2014

Shanghai Metro

My new apartment isn't very close to the city centre. In fact, it is 17 KMs away from People's Square.

This isn't a huge deal because Shanghai's transit system is awesome. I am thinking specifically of the metro system as I have never used a public bus.

There are a large number of subway lines, and from what I have read these seem to be continually expanding. The lines on the outer edge are a little confusing to me, but I have never had to use them. I'm thinking specifically of line 5, which has it's first (or last) stop as a transfer to line 1's last (or first) stop. So what I don't understand is why this line isn't just line 1. From what I have read, it sounds like the line will eventually be expanding at which point the first station will just be a transfer station, which would make more sense.

That isn't the point of this post. In fact, I  want to talk about the opposite. The metro system is very easy to use, convenient and affordable.

To get that 17 KMs to People Square, I just walk to my nearest subway stop (Zhongchun Road), and take it towards Middle Yanggao road until Xujiahui (7 stops) and then from Xujiahui, I transfer to line 1 towards Fujin road until I get to People's Square (5 stops). It may sound complicated, but it is really quite easy. All you need to know is which station is the last stop on the line in order to know which way to go. That route will take about 37 minutes, depending how long you need to wait for the transfer. The process is also made much easier if you have a smart phone with the Shanghai Metro App. It will tell you the route to take as well as estimate the amount of time it will take you. The picture on the left is from that app on my Iphone.

The traffic in Shanghai can be pretty bad at times. This is due to the sheer number of people on the roads as well as to people just driving foolishly. We saw a huge bus try to turn around in a very tight area once. He held up traffic on both sides of the road as he moved forward a little bit and then back. It reminded me of the scene in Austin Powers where Powers is trying to turn the golf cart around in a narrow hallway. To make things worse, the other cars were getting impatient and started to crowd into the bus's space. This gave him even less room to turn around. I'm not sure how long that held people up. It is things like that however that make the subway more reliable and convenient than driving. On the subway, you will take pretty much the same amount of time going from point A to point B every time you go. While driving, you can never be sure. During heavy traffic times, the metro is for sure faster.

Some people argue that they'd rather take a taxi. While cabs are cheaper in Shanghai than what you would pay for a cab somewhere in Canada, they are quite a bit more expensive than the metro. For example, my trip to hockey is around $1 via the train, but taking a taxi would cost me more than $20. It makes a difference. I'm too cheap to do that, especially consistently.

Plus, I genuinely enjoy the subway for the sense of adventure it gives me. Although, I can understand why you may not like the metro. It is almost always crowded. There are plenty of times I am unable to get a seat because there are so many people. There at times is a lot of pushing, and people tend to crowd the exits and try to enter the train before the people who are getting off exit. It's just something you learn to deal with. Also, you have to be prepared to be starred at, which is another common thing you need to learn to deal with.

If you have a keen eye, you can notice when someone who is seated is getting ready to get off at the next stop. Then it is just a matter of placing yourself near them and scooping the seat up before anybody else.

People will give up their seat to the elderly as well as small children. They will also give up their seat to someone who has fainted, which was a lesson learned the hard way.

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