Riding The Shanghai Metro

Taking a ride on the Shanghai Metro subway system is a good reminder on why I hate rush hour. With a population of 20 million, it’s pretty much rush hour all the time in Shanghai. The Metro moves 4 million people every day to and from their destinations.

Shanghai is the third city in China to build a subway system (Beijing and Tianjin are the other two). The Metro is one of the world’s most rapidly expanding subway systems, currently with eight lines, and has more new lines under construction, along with proposed extensions to the lines currently in operation. The network of the system has outpaced the Hong Kong MTR as of December 2007.

Riding the Metro cost 3RBM for journeys under 6 km, then 1RMB for each additional 10 km, to the highest fare of 9RBM. That means you can ride from one end of Shanghai to the other end for about $1.25 USD. Inexpensive, yes. However, be prepared to feel like a sardine.

57 thoughts on “Riding The Shanghai Metro”

  1. Pradeep says:

    Have u ever come to India john? do come to Mumbai when ever u get chance and travel In Mumbai’s local train and u will find Shanghai Metro a lot less crowded Mumbai’s train moves more then 8 million commuters every day.

    here we have more commuter and less trains every train moves more then 20000 commuter at a time

    1. Mayank Rocks says:

      Mumbai’s local trains. Dont Ask!
      I have travelled in it. One of the most pathetic thing it is. Some people are like half out of the door, standing somehow, but what to do? Thats the only thing Mumbai has. And I am shocked that this is getting neglected still. Atleast something the government should look into? Atleast some solution? Do you see the life risk in that when your half outside the train?

      Metro isnt risky as the doors close, you cannot fall outside of it.

  2. Apoorv says:

    Superb Metro of Shanghai, I have had a ride in many Indian Metros, I have had the same experience as you did 🙄

    1. Mayank Rocks says:

      Which ones Apoorv? How many cities have metros? Please do tell me lol

  3. Flimjo says:

    I remember riding the T in Boston during rush hour or on the way to a Red Sox game. It was certainly not comfortable. I can’t imagine riding the subway every day in big cities like NYC. Well….not that sitting in a car for an hour in traffic is any better.

    1. Actually, that’s about as packed as the ride gets in Taipei: the blue line from Panchiao to Taipei City. Trains every few minutes, but still packed like sardines.

      It’s too stressful for me to travel like that… but then for many people there is NO alternative.


  4. John, seems like you’re the tallest guy in China. 🙂

    1. He makes everyone look small…have you seem some with fellow bloggers ❓

    2. Mayank Rocks says:

      Or tallest in that compartment of Metro? 😯

  5. Hey john does the Subway remain crowded even at night like & what was the time you were there??

    There are lot of people there……oh!! mAn.. ❗

  6. Asswass says:

    In Caracas, Venezuela we have only 3 lines, a third of Shangai’s population and 2 million commuters a day. In rush hour you need to wait for 4 trains to get in and you need to start pushing and slamming people or you’ll be walking home.

    1. Flimjo says:

      Sounds like absolute chaos.

    2. Sounds like…they need more lines :mrgreen:

    3. Seems like a nice way to get some exercise done. Pushing all these people can’t be easy!

  7. carl says:

    I love how people try to crowd onto the train as soon as it arrives, not letting anyone get off first… Just like Hong Kong!

    1. Pradeep says:

      @Carl Shanghai’s public is decent compared to Mumbai’s public at least they let cumuter alight 1st here in Mumbai they rely attack others to catch the train

    2. They do that in most places.

  8. Joe says:

    What you see there reminds me of the subway in Boston for a Red Sox game, but also on the B line down Commonwealth Ave when school is in session at Boston U. SOOO Packed.

    1. Flimjo says:

      Those T rides to Fenway are INSANE. Same with the rides to the Garden for Celtics/Bruins games.

  9. Thiago Prado says:

    When I used to live in Sao Paulo I had the same problem. too many people riding the train and subway all the time. I HATE RUSH HOUR!!!

    1. Thats why companies are offering commuting times during other times other then rush hour times to combat this but, i think its down to local councils (don’t know what you call them in the US) to fix these issues.

  10. spidro says:

    why everybody use the same door to get out and get in? 🙄

    1. Thats usually the case everywhere

  11. Apoorv says:

    @ Restaurant blog blogger

    You are right 👿

  12. PPCfool says:

    At night the lines are not as crowded, I used to live there for about 2 years (in Beijing), yes he people getting on and off at the same time always made me laugh

    at least it is not as bad as this … yet in Tokyo

  13. John Esberg says:

    John, you gave me a nice giggle at the end of the video. Thanks.

  14. Sha says:

    Ha. Have you been to England? I was born/raised there & there were countless times when the Underground would be completely crowded. I HATED having to stand up. Let’s not even get started on the way some people tried to lean on others for support. The only car that was hardly packed was the one at the end.

    And I also love the new music. That came with iMovie too, right?

    1. I live in England…not in london though, but have experienced the problems with the underground.

      1. Sha says:

        I guess it’s still that bad. It was even worse in the summer. At least on the buses you could open the windows.

  15. Ronald Su says:

    That is nothing compared to the Hong Kong MTR during rush hour. You are more like kissing the girl next to you. 👿

    1. Thiago Prado says:

      We had that problem in Sao Paulo 2 years ago, some rapists use to go to the stations in rush hour to take advantage of the poor girls who couldn’t do anything to prevent the attack. They didn’t have sex but they abuse a lot of the girls.
      After so many incidents they put one police officer at every single car to protect the women against those MTF’s.

      1. Pradeep says:

        thank god Mumbai female commuter don’t face such troubles in trains here we have special cars for female commuters and female special trains during rush hours

        1. Pro Blogging says:

          You are right Pradeep Mumbai Females are lucky to have 2 full cars to them self but the Railway platform is not safe for them and the late night traveling is not at all advisable for female commuters

  16. cb says:

    John thanks for your coverage of shanghai. my wife and i will be there in september and your videos have shown us what to expect. I’m so excited. however after the last vide I must say I’m a little disappionted with you. You violated a major rule of riding the metro. you tried to enter the train before all the passengers exited, and thats a no-no. See my rule for riding the metro here: http://www.thesnapclap.com/2007/08/27/rules-for-riding-the-dc-metro/

    1. John Chow says:

      No one obeys the “Wait for others to exit before entering” or any other rules!

      1. cb says:

        I guess with a billion people in China, it could become difficult to enforce the rules all the time. Sounds like fun!

  17. Ah, that’s insane! I don’t travel by subway a lot, but when I have I felt uncomfortable for having a stranger even SIT next to me!

    1. Mayank Rocks says:

      Its cheap though. If I had metro here in my city. I’d definitely travel with it. It saves lots of money :mrgreen:

  18. Ken says:

    Thats a whole lot better then tokyo in rush hour where the police literally herd folks into the train like livestock.

    1. Mayank Rocks says:

      Is there that much Rush? like Police has to come and all? WOW! 😯

  19. WoooW
    Is that true that they have someone who pushes the people to get inside the subway? I’ve read that somewhere…

  20. ssmilin says:

    😀 Thanks John I laughed my head off. Watch out Leno here comes Chow, ssmilin

  21. I remember the Tokyo tour guide pointing out the best female underwear shop in Japan. It was kind of a bizarre point but that’s because all the girls who get their panties shredded on the subway go there to shop.
    Apparently, young girls on crowded subways would suddenly rise above the crowd because of all the hands pinching them.

  22. Pyjammez says:

    ahahahahhhahahah awesome

  23. That was awesome John. I can’t believe you wrote about “feeling up”. The US needs a modern transit system in mid size cities to hedge the price of fuel.

  24. Terry Tay says:

    You make a video about riding the subway and we all flock to it like water in the desert. With that many people it’s good to see everyone somewhat orderly getting on and off. No one getting hurt 😆
    The comment about “feeling up” was a little creepy though 😐

  25. Apoorv says:

    Metro is an underground subway I guess

    1. Mayank Rocks says:

      Metro can be underground or elevated. Like in India, Delhi for example, most of it is elevated.

  26. Apoorv says:

    John is the tallest of all 😀 heh 😛

    1. Mayank Rocks says:

      haaa..I noticed that aswell.

  27. Giridhar says:

    The crowd in Mumbai local train is much more than this, the worst thing is that their are separate cars for ladies in each train :mrgreen:

  28. HY Chong says:

    Thanks god. I live in Singapore. By the way John, do you mind to share what gadget did you use to take the video clip? what brand? 😀

    1. John Chow says:

      I use a Flip Video Ultra.

  29. Mayank Rocks says:

    Metro has always been a cheap transport and one of the most needed in every big city. India needs the similar solutions, we only got in like Delhi and Kolkata at the moment 🙁

  30. Noobpreneur says:


    What a sardine in a can the subway is! Too crowded for a subway, IMO. However, subway is one of the most efficient answer to traffic problem in big cities and metropolitan.


  31. Yea, I’d say that’s pretty crowded. Don’t think I’d enjoy that every day.

  32. Mike Huang says:

    Come John, that last remark was soooo over dramatic 😛


Comments are closed.