Hi everyone, I still have some things to say about China and Shanghai, so here we go...
One of the things I appreciated the most in Shanghai was the metro or underground trains. I've travelled quite a lot in my life and I've tried a lot of Metros, but this here is the no. 1 for me (the Toulouse metro comes in second).
The route network is excellent, all the hotspots, important sights and the airport (very important) are within reach. Most of the stations look neat, very clean and roomy. You never feel claustrophobic or anxious, unlike in the Paris metro. Also navigation is very easy. Every station has a map somewhere with the complete route network, both in Chinese and in English. Even at the platforms there are signs to tell you where you are:
So, the stop you're currently at is Tongji University. You are using Line 10, stop 22. On the left you find your next stop, Siping Road. The past stop is Guoquan Road. How could anyone possibly take the wrong direction or get lost?
The trains are also very generous with space. As long as you avoid rush hours, you will most likely get a seat. Most of the trains have a working a/c, which comes in handy in the warmer season.
A lot of stations have a very nice design and decoration. Here are some pictures taken at the metro line 10 (my favourite line ^^):
Note that the tracks are unaccessible. The newer lines like line 10 are completely closed by glass facades and doors. The train stops right where the doors are which makes it easy and very safe to enter.
Of course there are some things that seem strange for a metro. For example, if you enter the station and want to get to the tracks, you have to pass a security check. Well, actually, your bag has to go through security check. However, the guy working there never seems to really pay attention to what is going on on the screen.
You will also notice the high number of staff working at each and every single metro station. You have the x-ray guy, the other security guy telling you if your bag has to go through x-ray or not, the service guy who handles your tickets (like, when there are problems), the two guys waving flags when the train comes in or leaves again, the cleaning persons who would mop the floor right after you left...
And that's just one single station. Now imagine every station is staffed similarly. Philipp explained this kind of overstaffing as follows: there are over a billion people in this country, and they all need jobs. Not so many have had proper school education. So if you, as a (still socialist) state, need those people get employed (to prevent social riots etc.), you better make (up) jobs for them.
Anyhow, I will always have fond memories of the Shanghai metro. If you try to find the 21st century in China, it is definitely underground.