Shanghai Metro Hustle & Jostle


Shanghai Metro during rush hour. Drop your shoulder and push when the train comes!

When I was in Songjiang, I hate to get up early in the morning and play rugby with the Shanghainese at the metro station.

Everyone will wait patiently for the train to arrive. Upon hearing from a distance away a long screeching of the railway tracks, the crowd inevitably moved towards the ledge I almost thought they were going to jump down to the railway.

The carriages are literally like sardine cans. Passengers are standing so close to each other that there is no space to move at all. Even when the carriages seem to be full, passengers still manage to squeeze in when the train stops at every station. Squeezed in from the side, center, or even crawl in from the top and below to be the first to get into the train. Some of the passengers engage in a short 5 meter sprint just as the door opens and try to barge in. It gets warmer, crampier, and tighter inside the carriage.

Beside squeezing, pushing and hurling… passengers have to take note and be careful though. The rush hour period represents a good opportunity for thieves. There have been a few occasions where passengers find their valuables (mobile phones, wallets etc…) missing when they alight from the packed carriages. Ladies beware as there are bound to be some people who will take advantage.

It would be nice if the metro can introduce1 or 2 ladies-only carriages like in Japan.

The Shanghai metro can be the most crowded thing that I’ve ever seen in my entire life, with tremendous amounts of pushing and squeezing.