Luckily, being the most populous city in China, Shanghai has many methods of public transportation. Shanghai’s public bus system, metro, and maglev train are some of the most common transportation methods and are fortunately very inexpensive to use. Regardless of distance, if you need a way to get from Point A to Point B, Shanghai’s public transportation can surely get you there.
Public Transportation Card
First things first, if you will be staying in Shanghai for an extended period of time, you should really consider getting a public transportation card. These are very convenient and you can use them for taxis, buses, tourist buses, long-distance buses, subway lines, maglev trains, ferries and trucks. You may also be able to use the card at some parking lots, parking meters, gas stations, toll highways and auto repairing stores. To receive one, I think the easiest way is to just approach any service desk inside the metro and ask for a “GongGongJiaoTongKa” or show them this: “我要一个公共交通卡“。 You then just need to give them the RMB amount that you would like to have reserved on your card. When you need to refill your card, just approach any service desk and say “ChongQianKa” or you can show them: “我要充钱卡”. Just be sure to keep the card safe, because if you lose it, then you will also lose the amount you still have on the card.
Shanghai’s Public Bus System
Public buses in Shanghai are a very convenient means of transport, with around 1,100 lines crossing the city. Shanghai Railway Station, People’s Square, Xujiahui, Zhongshan Park, Wujiaochang, Shanghai Indoor Stadium, and Dongchang Road serve as the major bus transfer stations in downtown. Xinzhuang, Longyang Road and Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park stations provide many routes to the surrounding suburbs.
Shanghai public buses are identified by numbers or Chinese characters. No matter where you are living, there is bound to be a bus stop nearby. There you can see the different bus numbers that will stop at your location as well as the following bus stops, so you can decide which bus you will need to take to get to your destination. The bus stops are usually listed in Chinese so it may be a good idea to bring a phone or a translator to decipher the common bus stops you will need to take. Once that is figured out, using public buses in Shanghai is a breeze and only costs a few RMB per trip.
Using the Metro in Shanghai
Currently, the city has 14 subway lines in operation. Together they total 525.2 kilometers (326 miles), excluding the Maglev Line and the sections shared by Line 3 and Line 4. Shanghai’s Metro is relatively new and it is also much cleaner compared to subways in the States and the UK. It is very reliable, easy, inexpensive to use, and it will get you from one side of the city to the other in around 45-60 minutes all for less than 10 RMB. If you need to make a transfer, just keep an eye out for the station where you will need to make the transfer, depart the train, and then you will see signs directing you in the direction of the other lines. Just make sure you don’t exit the metro gates, otherwise you will have to pay an additional trip fee!
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