Jia You, Shanghai Metro!

If someone claims that the Shanghai Metro Line #1 is approaching its limit, he/she is not telling 100% of the truth, but not far from it.

Seeing is Believing

See the pictures I took these two days at the peak time of Shanghai Metro. For visitors to Shanghai, no matter visitors from outside Shanghai or outside China, I suggest them to try transition from Metro Line #2 to Line #1 between 8:00 AM to 8:30 AM on weekdays. Sorry that I may encouraging people to add burden to the Metro at its peak time. :-) It does help to understand how the city works.

Heard of the huge population of Shanghai, you will see the most amazing gather of people – everyone is going or running in the river of people.

Head of the economic power of this magic city? Look at the faces, the dresses, the paces of the people during this specific time frame. You will NOT see so many these business man, engineers, or office ladies on streets after they enter their office building.

Although we cannot claim you see how Shanghai works just by the 30-minute ride, at least people can get the vivid feeling of heart beat of the city. To be honest, I very seldom transit from Line #2 to Line #1 at morning rush time. I heard about the story and know what I should expect, but I was still shocked. Only after I set my foot to the transition tunnel can I understand the meaning of what we call “a lot of people”. The more interesting part of it is, with so many people, we still move so fast – exactly the same pace as the elevator.

The Transition


© Jian Shuo Wang. People transit from Line #1 to #2



© Jian Shuo Wang. People waiting for Line #1

The Train is Coming


© Jian Shuo Wang. The Train is coming

Leave the Training? Not Easy?


© Jian Shuo Wang. People inside are not easy to get out

Closing the Door? Hardly


© Jian Shuo Wang. People trying to get the door closed

Next Train? Yes. That is the Only Choice

Immediately after the first train leaves, there are still a lot of people on the platform. The good news for them is, they have a larger chance to get on to the next train.


© Jian Shuo Wang. Immediately after train leaves


I believe the interval of Shanghai Metro #1 is short enough (two and a half minute I remember). Adding more metro lines is the solution. On one hand, it offload a lot of traffic; on the other hand, maybe it will enable more people to transit at People’s Square and add the burden of Metro Line #1. So Jia You (cheers), Shanghai Metro. I am expecting the Metro Line #7 complete sooner – there is a station near my current apartment. It is expected to be completed by World Expo 2010.

30 thoughts on “Jia You, Shanghai Metro!

  1. People prefer to taking subway although they have to waiting for two or more trains, pushing in hardly in order to get on the train and when they did it, they have few chance to get a handrail to hold on, but they don’t have to worry about falling over when the train suddenly get start or pull in because the people all around you press you tightly. The reason for this is that they prefer to waiting at the station for 5 or 10 minutes, other than waiting on the bus or in texi or in his private car for half an hour or more. I think another solution for releasing the burden of Metro is limiting private car, adding more buses, and building more road! And the government is working hard on it!!!

  2. well, looks pretty much like the subway in Paris. but don’t they have any ‘professionnal packers’? you know, a guy at each door pushing people in so the subway doors can shut? we have those at a few stops in Paris.

    anyway, i do believe that a subway rush would be more violent in china that in france. and i think adding lines is good, but chances are the traffic will increase with it, and the mob experience will go on :)


    now in Xi’An, hopping to travel to shanghai and experience a familiar ‘subway-packing’ some time soon.

  3. The idiots who built the exchange there at “Peoples Square” no pun intended, should be hung. More stupid communist idiocy (market economy with screw you “Chinese characteristics”, and paranoid people control like usual = bad planning. I blame the Shanghai idiots who built it period.

    I’ve been through the hell so much there… it worse than a rat trap…

    Of course the communist officials make sure their in thier goddamned Mercedes and SUV’s ( (with the windows tinted of course) everyday…

  4. this is big city life…Its the situation everywhere I’ve been, Paris, London (try getting on the tube at Arsenal after a game!!!), Beijing, and Chicago…Rush hour traffic will never change and not much can be done to make it better…

  5. In L.A., everyone drives. I hate it and hate it. Now I am not sure any more …

  6. Pushin’, and Shovin’, and Trippin’, and Fallin’

    If you wonder what the subject is all about. First, sing it with the melody of Wishin’ and Hopin’. Secondly, imaging you are on your way to take the Shanghai Metro in the rush hour, all these would just happen in one trip.

    Wait a minute there, I a…

  7. Meetin’, and Poppin’, and Walkin’

    My Metro Line 2 story goes on. Jianshuo wrote something about the Line 1 and put specific attention on the People Square stop.

    I left work quite late yesterday, around 7:30. And I had a rendez-vous at the metro. I walked in face to face with the …

  8. Boran, Chicago, NYC, and Paris are much better. Bluekite, you should know why people drive or take taxi. Try being a woman on Shanghai metro or bus and have your butt groped constantly. Until they put police and cameras everywhere and start beating up the perverts, there will be good reasons to take a taxi. Perverts love you environmentalists.

  9. I’ve been taking the metro line #1#2 transfer several times now, as well as the metro line #1#3 transfer. Even though I haven’t been there during the real peak time, it’s still quite busy even outside of the peaktimes there.

    But really the amount of traffic is not what annoys me about the metro. So far i’ve always managed to get myself squeezed in. But what I don’t understand is the enormous distance you have to walk for each transfer. Also having to check-out and later check-in again for any transfer to or from metro line #3 is annoying, atleast when transfering between #1 and #2 this isn’t necessary.

    I think the metro is still the best for of transportation in Shanghai, but in my opinion they’ve made some mistakes when building it. Line #3 should have been underground, just like the main parts of #1 and #2 and the transfers should have been placed closer to eachother. Placing #3 below ground would have made it easier to construct the stations so you don’t need to checkout and checkin again.

    And with shanghai getting bigger and bigger space above ground will become more and more precious, so it would have logical to build all of the subway underground. Not like line #3 and the extention of line #1 which are aboveground now. Some parts being above- and other parts being belowground will make future connections only more difficult to realize.

  10. To pac>

    Yes Wen Shui station at line one is already operational, as are the rest of the stations of the Metro line #1 extention. The northmost station in use now is Gong Fu Xin Cun.

  11. I have been the “mill” several times last year, as I lived in Pudong and worked in the south end of Minhang, where line #5 ends.

    The criz-crossing crazyness in People’s Square I don’t understand, but I’m not a chinese engineer… Thank heavens !

    Getting out of the train – here’s a hint : Get as close to the exit inside of the train car one or two stops before you get out.

    At People’s Square this is not necessary at all – more than half of the travellers get out at this point, don’t worry.

    Getting on at Xinzhuang Station (sout end of line #1) if in the afternoon – go to the middle of the entrance field and STAY THERE. Or wait to next train. You’ll have to stand up for 12 stops if you don’t manage to find a seat.

    The other way in the morning it’s no problem – most travellers will be out before Xujiahui.

    About ass-grasping or pinching certain places – I never had the pleasure, as I’m a laowai man and 191 cm tall :-)

    And I find it funny that line #5 still have 2 persons running each train ! And their uniforms are just SOOOO french police-looking ! The caps is usually pulled down hard over their ears, so they look like Dumbo’s ! Go and see for yourself.

    And in the summertime it’s so cool inside at line #5, but if they would just turn on some heat in the wintertime…

  12. Oh in addition it’s good to know that not all the trains on metro line #1 actually go to the extention part. Only one in 3 or 4 trains goes further than Shanghai Railway Station. So when getting on the metro pay careful attention to the signs on the window of the metro as they mention then terminal station where that train will go. You can also look at the metro trains themselves, i’ve noticed that the newer looking models all go to the extention. But some of the older ones also seem to go there, so pay extra attention with the older looking models.

    I’m not sure how to describe the difference between the old and new models, as they both look quite similar. I think the newer ownes have a little bit rounded edges compared to the older ones.

  13. These pictures are actually quite tame compared to the crowd that gathers on any London tube platform waiting for the train that has been, as usual, delayed.

  14. You have information regarding express buses to Hangzhou from the 2 airports. Are there any express buses to Hangzhou from the city ? If so, where is the nearest terminal to catch these buses ?


  15. Shanghai Metro has often exceeded its load max by as much as 40% during the peak hour and what it needs to solve the congestion is to upgrade the signalling system.

    At present, the Metro is operated at 3 mins interval, this is the best Metro can provide for safe operation, unlike Hong Kong MTR it can operate at 1 min interval thanks to advance computerized signal system.

    The revenue received by the Metro can barely cover the operation cost and rising the fare may not favour by the government, so the Metro is operating at shoestring budget with obsolete technology, unlike its counterpart in Hong Kong who can charge 5-7 times fare as compared to Shanghai and recently it has completed automatic screen door for all concourses.

    There is a saying “what you pay is what you get”.

    I apologize should someone feel the above is insensitive.


  16. WJS, that shot of the subway platform taken at boot-level is really very excellent!

    My work takes me all over lines 1, 2 & 3. Shanghai has a great subway system, the current situation will get much better when the other lines open to relieve the stress on the existing transfer points. And the presence of the 2010 Expo on the horizon will insure more lines will (eventually) get opened.

    Those of you complaining about People’s Square, I wonder if you have been there since it was changed to all one-way walking (around the O-shape)? Before that, it was so bad that sometimes it was outright dangerous. It flows much better now, although the density of the crowds does get breath-taking at rush-hour, when it reminds me of the opening scenes of the workers in the German film “Metropolis”.

    I confess that I, too, am puzzled by the distances to be covered when transferring at Peoples Square or the main train station. We’re talking *blocks* of tunnel shuffling.

    Well, at least walking is terrific exercise. Do you hear that, all of you crowding the subway station escalators (while I walk up the stairs alone…) ;-)

  17. Yes, that is always very funny to see everybody going for the escalators with almost empty stairs next to them. Always gives me a good opportunity to be upstairs first and thus avoid some of the crowd.

  18. In Hong Kong, we have more people using Mass Transit Transportation. The interval of each train could be as short as 90 seconds.

    As I understand, Shanghai Metro will buy more new trains running on Line 1 and they will extend the train length from 6-cars to 8-cars. The carrying capacity of will increase from 2,100 passengers to 2,800 passengers.

    This is the same configuration as the Hong Kong MTRC.

    I believe Shanghai Metro shall improve the operating efficiency and pay more attention on reliability & availability of their service.

  19. Hello

    I am trying to figure out the travelling time between Shanghai downtown (say Hangpu district) and Changning district by car or subway (if possible)

    Thanks in advance for your help


  20. you should have express trains (trains that stop only at some stations) like in new york

  21. Anyone knows when Line #4 will open the last part of the line (Lancunlu – Damuqiaolu) ?

    This will give a great relief to Line #1.

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