Getting around in Shanghai

The huge number of Shanghai taxis in the streets as well as the ever growing public transportation network make getting around in Shanghai rather convenient. Learn the best ways to navigate the city as you read on.

From/to Pudong (PVG) airport

Pudong airport (PVG) has two terminals, both are in walking distance from each other. The maglev and subway station is located in between. there are several transportation options:

Taxi:

Taking a taxi in Shanghai is probably the most convenient (though not necessarily the fastest) way. Go to the official taxi stands on the ground floor. Be prepared to wait and do not follow any persons approaching you on the way to the taxi stand. Be sure to have your destination address written in Chinese as a print-out or on your phone, which you can show to the taxi driver. Taxi drivers generally do not speak English.

Maglev train (+ subway):

An alternative – especially if your destination is close to a subway station – is taking the maglev (a German-technology hover train, running at top speeds of up to 430 km/h from Pudong airport to Longyang station in Pudong in around 10 min). Trains from Pudong airport station run every 15-20 minutes from 7:02am to 9:42 pm, plus at the time of writing two additional trains at 10:15pm and 10:40pm. Trains from Longyang station to the airport run from 6:40am to 9:40pm. Single trip tickets are 50 rmb (40 rmb upon presentation of a same day flight ticket).

From Longyang station it is still a good way to the city center, however, so you will most likely have to change to subway line 2 or line 7 at Longyang station. I would not recommend taking a taxi from Longyang station, as many taxis waiting at this station are said to be notoriously unreliable. 

Airport bus:

There are also several airport bus lines, most running all 15-25 minutes. The more useful ones might be line 1 (30 rmb) going non-stop to Hongqiao aiport and line 2 (22 rmb), which is ending at Jingan temple. Taxi or maglev/subway probably are faster though.

Subway:

Subway line 2 is also running from/to Pudong airport (you have to change trains at Guanglan road station). However, i would not recommend the subway, as it is really awfully slow with its frequent stops along the route.

From/to Hongqiao (SHA) airport

Hongqiao airport (SHA) has two terminals, which are quite far from each other, but are connected by subway line 10. Adjacent to terminal 2 is th.e Shanghai Hongqiao railway station

Taxi:

Taking a taxi in Shanghai is probably the most convenient option, but depending on traffic, not necessarily the fastest one. Go to the official taxi stands on the ground floor. Be prepared to wait: lines at Hongqiao airport can be really long at times, however are in general moving rather fast as usually plenty of cars are available. Do not follow any persons approaching you on the way to the taxi stand. Make sure you have your destination address written in Chinese as a print-out or on your phone, which you can show to the taxi driver. Taxi drivers in gerneral do not understand English.

Subway:

Terminal 2 is connected to subway lines 2 and 10 just downstairs of the airport terminal, the station of terminal 1 is served by line 10. Hongqiao railway station is one subway stop behind Shanghai Hongqiao airport (lines 2 and 10).

When taking line 10 to Hongqiao airport/railway station make sure you board a train bound for Hongqiao railway station, as line 10 splits into two ends from Longxi road on.

Some trains on line 2 do not go all the way to Hongqiao airport / railway station but stop at Songhu road station. in that case just disembark at Songhu road station and wait at the same platformfor the next train bound for Xujing to go to Hongqiao airport / railway station.

Getting around in Shanghai

Tip:

Get a Shanghai public transportation card (交通卡, “jiaotongka”), which can be used in taxis, subway, buses, ferries as well as the maglev train from/to Pudong airport and can help you saving you time looking for coins or lining up to buy single tickets. Public transportation cards can be purchased at all major subway stations (smaller ones only sell them at vending machines requiring a Chinese bank card) as well as at some convenience stores (Kedi 可的 and Haode 好德), some Shanghai Pudong Development Bank branches as well as some post offices (though the major metro stations are probably the safest bet). They are sold with a 20 yuan refundable deposit and value can be added as multiples of 10. One public transportation card can only be used by one person at the same time. Nonetheless, it is always a good idea to have some spare cash with you – just in case the card reader in taxis is not working for instance.

getting around in shanghai - shanghai public transportation card

Shanghai taxi:

There are around 50,000 taxis in shanghai, which you can just flag down. nevertheless, it can sometimes be quite hard to find a cab – especially when it is raining and during rush hours. Fares start from 14 rmb yuan for the basic Volkswagen Santana taxis and 16 rmb yuan for the bigger VW tourans at day time (5am – 11pm) and include 3km. after 3km, each additional km is charged with 2.5 rmb, beyond 10km 3.75rmb per km. In addition, waiting time is also charged at 1 rmb per 4 min.

Different taxi companies come in different colors. my very personal and subjective ranking:

1. Dazhong 大众 (turquoise cars)

2. Qiangsheng 强生 (yellow and green cars)

3. Jjinjiang 锦江 (white cars)

4. Haibo 海博 (saphire blue cars)

5. Smaller blue color companies as well as bright red falanghong 法兰红

6. Dark red color companies

In a nutshell: if you have the choice, go for one of the established taxi companies 1-4 (see photo) and avoid especially dark red taxis.

Taxi drivers generally do not speak English, therefore always have your destination address in Chinese with you, which you can show to the taxi driver.

Shanghai taxis accept either cash or public transportation cards. A good idea is to ask the driver for a receipt (发票, “fapiao”) before getting off (in case you forgot anything in the car or need to complain).

getting around in shanghai - taxis

Subway:

Subway is in many cases faster than taking a taxi. Shanghai has more than ten subways lines, which makes reaching most parts of the city easy. Taking the subway is very straightforward as stations names are consistently bilingual. You can either purchase singe journey tickets (starting from 3 rmb) at the vending machines or use the public transportation card. All entrance gates will have a bag check, which – especially for small bags and during rush hours – is not effectively enforced ans hence more or less pointless… During rush hours subways can get very crowded. Times of the last trains are rather early and have been slightly extended only recently: Times of the first and last trains are clearly written at every subway station. Download the latest subway map from the shanghai metro website.

Buses:

Taking buses might be a more challenging way of getting around in Shanghai without knowing Chinese. One exception is the newly established super useful line 71, which runs every few minutes along the Yanan road from the Bund to the West part of Shanghai behind Hongqiao airport on its dedicated bus line. Tickets are 2 rmb per ride (pay as you board the bus with cash or public transportation card).

bus nr 71
bus 71 map

Ferry:

To get from the southern end of the bund (close to yanan road intersection) to Pudong Lujiazui (close to Shanghai tower) or vice versa, use the ferry and enjoy the view on both sides of the river. Buy a ticket for 2 rmb or just swipe your public transportation card.

Bicycles:

Several companies are offering rental bike sharing services. In total hundreds of thousands of rental bikes are in the streets. By far the two most popular ones are the orange Mobike and the yellow ofo bikes. Registration, however, requires a Chinese mobile phone number and accounts can only be topped up with Chinese online payment services Wechat, Alipay or Apple pay linked to a Chinese bank card.