Written by Belle Edeoga, (Sarah Lawrence College) Student Correspondent CET Shanghai, Fall 2018
Generally speaking, transportation in Shanghai is quick, fast and easy to understand regardless of your Chinese level. The metro card the program provides, grants access to both the subway and buses, and you can download an app to quickly call taxis, or if you prefer to ride a bicycle, you can sign up for Mobike and have access to bicycles all around the city.
As soon as you get to Shanghai, one thing you immediately notice is the number of motorcycles present everywhere. While some are commuters, most of the riders are waimai (delivery) drivers hurrying to make their delivery – something to be thankful for when ordering delivery.
Two words: Rush hour.
Every weekday at 6pm everywhere is full of people commuting home. The roads are jammed, the trains are full, and the sidewalks are filled with pedestrians, bicyclists and waimai drivers.
Typically commuting anywhere is relatively fast and easy, and while you do have to be on the lookout for waimai drivers while walking, it gradually becomes easier to do.
I thought rush hour in Shanghai was horrible till I had to get on the subway during the National Holiday. I spent the day in the happiest place on earth – Disneyland – and was very exhausted, however, the day was not yet over, I had to get back to campus. While there are many ways to get back to campus from Disney, I felt more confident using the subway, especially after I saw the long lines for the buses and taxes. I felt like I had dodged a bullet until I got to the station and had to wait for almost an hour in line just to get to the front of the entrance to the train. The train was fully packed, thankfully I got a seat which was a miracle unto itself. I have never seen a fuller train since coming to Shanghai, and I was glad to get back to my dorm and order waimai.
I have been in Shanghai for almost two months now and like to think that I have seen most of what Shanghai’s transportation has to throw at me. Despite the experience of travelling during the National Holiday, commuting in Shanghai is fairly easy and very convenient, it’s always fun to hop on a train or bus and see where it leads you.