Hard to Use Metro Instead of a Car

I wrote an article titled Leave Home Early to Avoid Traffic Jam. I said I have to wake up one hour earlier to avoid traffic jam. Many readers suggested me to take metro. For example:

How about Teleworking?

Or Car sharing?

Or taking subway?

Posted by: ecodelta on May 27, 2008 12:50 A

And this:

Does it take more than one hour for you to use the subway to get from your Pudong home to Xujiahui? Why not only use the car for weekends and trips other than work, in a more European style? I’ve now returned to Shanghai after just three years away, and the increase in private cars is amazing. An increasing number of car commuters during rush hour has so many bad points, and public transportation is so good in Shanghai now. How about trying the subway at 7, maybe before it too is so crowded?

Posted by: Aili on May 27, 2008 12:53 AM

And this one:

I don’t suppose you would ever consider moving closer to work. :) There’s some nice places to live in Hongqiao.

Posted by: Chinkerfly (external link) on May 29, 2008 12:18 AM

Finally this one:

what about forget the car in the car park and take public transport such buses and metro

its true that if you do not use the car your will not show to people that your own a car (status symbol), but if you do not drive yoru car and go with public transport, you will do to you and to all the following:

1) save petrol money bills in your pockets as well save the cost of car usage

2) most important of all save pollution to you and and everybody, as the not only the choking smokes of yoru car, but all the petrol plastic and pollutant material used for a car will be less consumes.. so finally you will help the world

3) dicreasing the consuem of petrol, will help to decrease wars, in example Iraq, Afganistan, durfur….

so think… instead to wake at 5…. take the subway…. you do a favour to you first and to everybody …

Posted by: jerry on May 29, 2008 10:01 AM

Thanks a lot for giving me suggestions, and I will consider it, and will try alternatives, but before I gave you the report, let me tell you more about why I made the current decision – a chance for my readers to know the life of Shanghai better.

Metro?

I love metro. I am a big fan of Metro. As you can see from the articles I wrote about Metro, riding a metro is the best thing I can think of to do in this city. However, riding a metro is still not a very feasible way for me to do it. There are several reasons.

There are no metro stations near where I live, and I have to find ways to get to the metro station in the morning. I tried many different approach.

Driving to Metro Station

Currently, this is no park and go facilities in Shanghai yet. I used to park my car at the gate of Century Park, and it takes only 10 RMB (1.4 USD) per day to park. I like it a lot, and do park and go at that time. But, it was closed already, and so does all the cheap parking lot near Metro stations like Longyang Road station, Shanghai Science and Technology Station. The current parking lot is both far from the station, and charges 10 RMB per hour. For people like me who often get back very late at night, I can easily paying 100 RMB to 150 RMB per day (that is about 20 USD). Not a very good solution for me. If anyone knows any good parking lot near these three station, or even stations far away, I would like to give it a try.

I do hope the city can build park and go facility and charge cheap for that, so I will definitely do it.

Bus to Metro Station

There are buses from where I live to Metro Station – I choose the Lancun Road station of Line 4, because there are no bus to other stations from where I live. When it rains and at rush hour, it easily take 40 minutes to get through the traffic near Pujian Road, or longer. I was proud of the traffic in Pudong, but not any more. That is about 1 and half hour to get to work, or longer if I am not lucky.

Taxi to Metro

This is also a dream solution, if I can call a taxi. In the morning from 7:00 to 9:00 AM, in the area, there is NO taxi at all. There are some illegal taxi departure at around 7:40 AM to metro station. I may consider take it some day.

Move to Downtown

I’d love to, if I can afford the price of the area – I shared the story of appointment finding experience, and we tried very hard. No result yet, and house price in that area keep increasing. We have a baby and we need bigger house than before, so it can easily cost 2-5 million RMB for a so-so apartment. Rent for a big family also does not look right, especially when I want Yifan to escape from the crowd and pollution in downtown.

We are also looking at the alternative of rent a smaller apartment for just we too, and even though of the stupid idea to drive home just for dinner and send Yifan to bed, and then drive back to the apartment at night, to avoid morning traffic. As I said, it is a stupid idea.

Back to the metro idea, transit at People’s Square or taking Metro Line #8, or #2, or #1 South section are miserable. Taking Metro Line #8 as an example, I am often told that people have to wait for 3 trains to get onto it in the morning. Regarding driving a car – I don’t like to drive in the morning, and I don’t want to show off my cheap car (although I love it so much and Goudaner is doing great so far). What I want is just show up at office on time, and with a pleasant experience.

Shanghai is a big city, with life in it, and problems in it. It is not a very pleasant city yet. In the last few years, I am trying to make the city more accessible information wise, but I also face some problems like commuting to work. In some areas, Shanghai is getting better and better, but in other areas, like transportation, it is getting worse. I am expecting the Metro Line #7 to open, which has a station near my home. I would be very excited to park my lovely car at its own parking space all the time, and use the Metro all the time (even at weekends). But any way, I still love my life and love this city. I am not complaining. I just want to find a solution to my little problem. Besides this, life is wonderful.

So, that is the problem of living at where I live, and any suggestions? I’d love to save time, or save petro, or both. Suggestions are welcome, and I will try new approach (other than leave home at 6:00 AM) and see whether it works, then report on this blog.

20 thoughts on “Hard to Use Metro Instead of a Car

  1. Aili

    You have explained yourself very well. There is this exact same problem in the United States, where public transportation is poor. People often cannot afford to live in cities, as well as prefer a more quiet and green life in the suburbs. The result is that the vast majority of people drive to work with an average commute of an hour. In some urban hours, even 2 to 3 hours! This is an awful situation, as you know from your own experience, and difficult to solve. I hope that when the #7 line opens, you can use the subway. It will hopefully even be more relaxing than driving. Meanwhile, Shanghai traffic is going to get worse and worse until more trains are added so that subway crowding is decreased, and park and go facilities are built throughout suburban areas. I have recently rented an apartment and know that they’re expensive in the downtown. (I would have loved to live in Luwan or Jing’an districts as I did years ago, but the cost pushed me into Huangpu district.) However, housing prices will continue to rise and housing is now one of the best investments one can make in Shanghai. It still may be worth it to move to the downtown soon, if there’s anyway you could manage it. You will have to sacrifice space, but that’s city living! (And I think it can be wonderful for a child to grow up in a city.)

  2. Давид

    How about riding your bike to the Metro in the mean time? It doesn’t take very long to bike that one kilometer or so. About 10 minutes?

  3. ecodelta

    Move to home close to subway station, and if possible with direct line to your office, or at least with as few and easier transfers as possible.

    That can widen your options in the housing market.

    When I was working abroad I located all subway and city train lines that went to my office. Selected a quiet neighborhood which has a good connection to office in city outskirts, and also to city downtown.

    Only needed to use car on weekends to visit touristic sites.

    Needed just 20 minutes from house door to office door by bus and subway. Very convenient.

  4. Jian Shuo Wang

    Xujiahui is definitely downtown, and the concept of downtown is expanding and expanding. Xujiahui is the downtown of downtown now.

    @Давид, bike is not an option for me, because of the same parking issue and thief issue. Unless you are very confident that your bike is extremely bad, you don’t want to park it near a Metro station. It will be gone within a week.

  5. ldskaie

    You can park at Metro/B&Q/Decathlon parking area (not overnight) and go subway at Longyang Rd station.

  6. DC

    Driving and park at Century Park Metro station:

    Actually you can park by the road side near the Metro station (along Mei Hua Rd). There is a parking attendant taking care of the cars parked there. I saw drivers paying about RMB5 or less for one day parking.

    Park your bicycle:

    There is also a guarded bicycle parking area at Century Park Metro station. You just need to pay RMB1 for parking there.

    Hope that will help whoever need this info. :)

  7. Jian Shuo Wang

    @DC, is there parking on the Meihua Road? I didn’t see it at least one month ago. If it is the case, that is great. Before, I only see policeman putting fine ticket on the window there.

    I don’t trust the guarded bicycle parking, since the person will leave after working hours – some at 8:00 PM, or 9:00 PM latest. If he is gone, my bike is gone, not an option. I have friends who got the bike stolen at guarded parking, and they can compensate you 50 RMB – 50 times of the fee you paid at most. Sometimes they only give you 10 RMB as compensation, depends on where you parked.

    @ldskaie, you are so kind to provide the tip, but that does not work any more. Based on the situation I described, if it is still the case, it is the best free park and go facility in Shanghai. However, they are not stupid. Now in the morning, if you drive to Metro, or B&Q or Decathlon, there is security guards at the gate. Their opening hour is 9:00 AM. You cannot enter the parking area unless you show them something to prove that you are doing business with them.

    Hmmm… Not working.

  8. ILH

    Don’t you wish you could have a pair of wings?

    I like the idea of moving your company to a place where is closer to you. You are the big boss there, aren’t you.

    But, someone else in your company will have to travel far.

  9. sjtu20

    Jianshuo, just saw you on the National Public TV here in States. It is a really good one, true to the fact in China. From this, I can feel the power of freedom in US and see the gap between China and US. Anyway, just let you know about your appearance here.

  10. lin

    like it is said above

    consider to ride bike to get the Metro ,that is woderful solution,isnot it?

  11. lin

    like it is said above

    consider to ride bike to get the Metro ,that is woderful solution,isnot it?

  12. Jian Shuo Wang

    @sjtu20, thanks for letting me know. I even didn’t know that. I talked with Margaret, the anchor woman of PBS’ NewsHour, but don’t know where the program may turned out to be.

  13. Jian Shuo Wang

    @ILH, I don’t think moving company location is a good choice. The current location is considered convenient for most of people, although it is really tough for some who lived very far – they have to wake up at 6:00 AM to use public transportation – I mean metro – to get to work. Also, it is near Metro Station – 2 metro lines are nearby and will be 5 different metro lines go around the same building. So I don’t think I can move it to a better location.

    The problem for this city is, not only me, many many people face the transportation problem. The only way to live close to company is to always rent, and change house when you change job or your company change location. If you really want to buy a house, you give 10%+ to the government as tax, and pay something about 5% (not exactly but in this range) to the government when you buy one. 15% of house price (in million RMB) may well justify to keep longer commute hour.

  14. martin

    Why not organize a shuttle bus to the metro station from the community where you live for residents of the community? This would solve the problem for many residents and possibly increase the value of your apartment too.

  15. cookie

    3rd on the bike idea. used to biking to metro station all the time until my third (and last) bicycle is stolen…

  16. Rahul

    There has to be a policeman alloted for every boogy as there are a lot of boys who are always looking for a chance to touch girls. they must be punished infront of everybody that action should be filmed and shown on national TV so people of that same type think 100 times before making such attempts.

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