How to NOT end up in the wrong neighborhood in Shanghai?
Shanghai metro system is organized by number. Currently, 1 to 16. Although number 14 and 15 are under construction, it’s expected to be completed before 2020.
You might feel a little bit overwhelmed and think to yourself like me, “Well, just hope I don’t end up in a bad neighborhood and get my kidney sold.” Surprisingly, I didn’t get too lost and here’s why.
7 Tips to avoid ending up in the wrong neighborhood in Shanghai
1. Remember which line to get on and off
Line Number 2 is the one line that you will encounter if you are flying into Shanghai. Line number 2 connects both Pudong Airport and Hongqiao Airport. Unless if you flew in Shanghai with Chinese military jet, you will either end up at Pudong or Hongaqiao airport. Pudong is located at the east end of line number 2, and Hongqiao at the west.
Be careful about transferring, some platform runs multiple lines. Check the train’s number before you get on.
Some train has route map inside the train with light indicating where the current station is. If not, pay attention to the announcement that speaks both Chinese and English.
On the platform, there’s a clear animated sign that indicates exactly when the train will arrive. Fancy! And you can also watch commercial on loop!
2. Buy the right ticket to save time
Ticketing — You will find a Kiosk machine that dispenses tickets at the station. There are six types of tickets, but for simplicity sake, you can just get the Shanghai Public Transportation Card. It can be used for metro, buses, ferry and some taxis. You can put in as much money as you like. 50~100RMB is enough to last a week if you travel frequently with metro.
3. Act cool to go through security
Security — say what? security at metro? Well, kind of. More like improv security. They check sometimes, and sometimes they just wave their metal detector like a light saber. But yea, just comply if they do check. The most they asked me to do was to put my backpack through the X-ray machine. After security, you will see the gate where you scan your card. I have witnessed a perfectly dressed woman ducked under without scanning. Very smooth, but I wondered if it was worth it.
4. Be close to the door before getting off
Boarding — when you are getting off the train, be sure to go in front of the door before it opens. Because people will not care if you’re getting off, they will flood in and making it impossible for you to get off unless if you’re a Sumo or a football player then you can just mow people over.
5. Open seat is blood for the sharks
Seating — if you’re riding during the rush hour(7–9:30 and 16:30–19:30), you can forget about finding a seat. People would kill for an open seat. I literally witness a young man who slid his butt onto the seat even before the other elder lady’s butt has fully been lifted from the seat, or maybe he was just looking for a lap dance. There will be people screaming about an open seat, “Son! Here’s an open seat!” meanwhile guarding the seat with her body and fending off others with her stares.
6. Stop people from doing dangerous activity
Safety — A train arrives every 5–10 minutes. With that being said, not everyone understands that, sometimes they play baseball and try to slide onto the base on time. The base being the train, and when they are not “safe”, it rather dangerous. Some people even go to the measure where they try to pry open the door if their friend didn’t make it. Banging on the door and shouting, “Stop!” If it was an act, they deserve an Oscar, because they made me feel like that they will never see their friend again once the train departs.
7. Promote good metro etiquette
- Let people alight from the train first before getting on board.
- Yield seats for people in needs, elderly, pregnant lady, disabled, injured, etc.
- Wait patiently for the next train if the door is already closing.
- If you stand in front of the door, don’t be distracted by the mobile phone as people are trying to get on and off
- Keep the environment comfortable by not littering or spitting.
Above is what I wish that I could say about Shanghai metro. The majority of the people are quite decent, but there’s a slice of the population that just act like savages from the wilderness. However, I believe that knowledge and wisdom beats ignorance. Shanghai metro will improve once knowledge about common etiquette is widely spread.
If all else failed, look for Shanghai Metro Mark to guide you back to the closest metro station.
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