Shanghai Looks Like a Modern City

I haven’t take Shanghai Metro for a long, long time.

The other day, I took Metro home. Wow. I found some really good improvement in Metro. Let me share what I saw with you.

People Start to Line Up!

I would say people lining up to get onto to off Metro is very rare for me. Normally, taking Metro is a physically fighting game that you have to either join handful of people to rush into the door or you wait until the second train and get pushed by people behind you.

During my metro ride, I found more people line up on the left and right side of the gate to allow people to leave the train before they enter.

This is still not the common practice, but I am happy to see at least some people are starting to do so, which is very positive sign.

Empty Seats on Train

This also seems strange to me. On the train, at around 7:00 PM, there are empty seats while there are still many people standing!

I don’t think there is anything significant behind this, but this is a scene I rarely saw before. Typically, even if there is only one empty seat left, people will get across the train cart and take it.

This reminds me my first trip to Singapore about 5 years ago. I was so puzzled to see empty seats while there are many more people standing nearby. I even asked people around me why not take seats! (FYI, they didn’t have an answer). At that time, I thought I wrote something about it and claimed that this could never happen in Shanghai.

It happened after 5 years. I would guess that it is because of the higher quality people’s life and the more abundance of public facility that a seat is not that a big deal. The most likely answer to the question why people don’t take something is “abundance”. I would say if you take everything out of the garbage bin these days and show it to people of 10 years ago in China, I bet most of the items will be taken away, like all newspapers (they can sell it for 1 or 2 cents), bottles (they can also sell it), and boxes (they can bring home for daily use).

I guess the seat is the same thing for people. When I have a seat everywhere, why bother take the seat in a Metro? It seems the same in U.S. Subways, and especially the AirTrain in SFO (almost all people stand and keeps all the seats open).

8 thoughts on “Shanghai Looks Like a Modern City

  1. Hi Jianshuo, yes! Gary and I took the metro during our Shanghai trip, to try it out. And it was pretty good! I looked at the floor of the train and remembered what you said about the floor being littered with cards. Well, the floor of the train we took was very clean, and I thought, “Hmm, this is not as bad as what Jianshuo described!”

    Also, we were quite concerned about pickpockets at the station or on the train, so we hid our mobile phones in our bags. But to my surprise, I saw people using their phones openly on the train. A colleague later told me that if I were to do that in Malaysia, my phone may get snatched away while I’m still using it!!!

    Also, when we were preparing to get on or off the train, nobody tried to push anyone away. Sometimes the people in Singapore (not necessarily Singaporeans) are even more unruly in this aspect. Hehe.

    So, overall yes, the people were pretty orderly, although I had a bad experience while queueing up to buy the metro tickets. We were not standing close enough to the machine while figuring out how to use it, so someone just cut in from behind without asking. I stared at him, but he pretended not to see. Other than that, it was pretty okay.

    By the way, I was amused by this list of rules and regulations for using the metro. There were like 12 guidelines listed on that poster. Wow. This is something Singapore doesn’t have yet. But who knows, someone from the Singapore Mass Rapit Transit (SMRT) corporation may see that and decide to implement it one day. After all, Singapore is a “fine” country. Hahaha.


    Ling *:)

  2. i never had to worry about those things while i was living in Shanghai. Come on, not get pushed on the metro station, not get snatched while using mobile, or not take a seat on the train? You will be surprised that people in Shanghai can do much better than this :-).

  3. @Ling

    That proves how limited the power of the media is. Nothing can replace the first hand experience. I believe that when JianShuo wote about Shanghai, he was sincere and honest and tried his best to give a true image of real Shanghai. And when you read Jianshuo’s blog, you understood that he is only writing his experience at that particular time on that particular train. But, still the image about Shanghai you perceive is so different from what you see when you visit.

  4. Lining up?? Wow, things really have changed…!! Do people keep to one side of the escalators now? That was a ‘hot topic’ last when I was in Shanghai for Chinese New Year this year… I wish they could get the hang of it here in Singapore… this topic gets a lot of ‘airplay’ with the bloggers here in Singapore (esp. the facebook community)… :D

  5. @AussiePB, I remember the people waiting for the passengers to exit the trains before attempting to board the trains themselves. Of course, they didn’t wait till the last passenger got out, but it was pretty good already. And I did notice some of them keeping to one side of the escalators. I think in China, they keep to the right side? In Singapore, I think things have gotten better already. Some people may not keep to one side, but you know they know that they should, and they usually move willingly to one side when you say, “Excuse me”. Of course they can do better. *:b

  6. Shanghai is big and everyone see a different Shanghai. I don’t want to mislead myself or my readers by saying that everyone in Shanghai lineup just because I saw some. I just share what I saw. :-)

    For standing on the right side of the elevator, I am sure majority of people don’t know this rule. If it is the case, it is not a rule at all. If I hadn’t traveled to other countries, I would completely have no idea about this rule, and I will stand confidently on the left side of the elevator.

    Rules are made by people. If there is no such a rule, or custom (unwritten rule), we should not complain, just as people don’t complain when they found people outside China didn’t say “You are lying” when they compliment someone.

  7. Very happy to here this. While I doubt if it is the same situation in the station of People’s Square.

    Too many people push you to the train, haha.

    I really anticapted the 2010 world expo very much, and hope I have a chance to go there then.

    I’m sure Shanghai will become more beautiful and modern!

  8. I am so proud of Shanghai! Not only because it’s my hometown, but also because how fast people learn and adopt to new things.

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