Shanghai has good public transportation

On-site mobility in Shanghai

Public transportation

International visitors rarely try to use public transportation - especially buses - unless they understand Mandarin. Taxis or the subway are much easier to understand alternatives.
Shanghai's public transport network is inexpensive and comprehensive.

City buses (Tel: (21) 16 08 81 60) run from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. and are often overcrowded, especially during rush hour (6.30 a.m. to 8.30 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.). You pay directly to the driver. The main lines in the city center are numbered. The destination is only available in Chinese on suburban buses and coaches.

The Shanghai subway (5am to 11pm) is clean, efficient and easy to use. The sign for a subway station resembles a red "M". Tickets can be bought from machines and counters near the entrances. You pay flat rates depending on the length of the route. Combined collective tickets for the subway, bus, ferry and taxi can also be purchased if you trust your Mandarin. Scoreboards and announcements are in Mandarin Chinese and English.

There are currently four underground lines; at least seven more are under construction. Line 1 runs in a north-south direction from Gongfu Xincun (via the main train station and People's Square) to the southwestern suburb of Xinzhuang. Line 2 connects the high-tech industrial park Zhangjiang in Pudong with Songhong Lu in an east-west direction. Line 3 (Pearl Line) has a somewhat peculiar route and runs from Jiangwan Zhen in the north to Shanghai South Station in the south. The new, circular line 4 runs through Pudong, the eastern and western suburbs and the northern districts of Shanghai.


Despite the alarming metal cages around taxi drivers, Shanghai taxis are reliable, inexpensive, and safe. They are also numerous. There are a number of taxi companies whose vehicles are almost exclusively Chinese-made VWs. All taxis are metered. City maps and destinations written in Chinese are essential for tourists as taxi drivers rarely speak English.

Taxis can be pre-ordered from some companies, for example Friendship Taxi (Tel: (21) 62 58 45 84) or Dazhong Taxi (Tel: (21) 63 20 72 07). The Shanghai Municipal Taxi Association (Tel: (21) 63 68 10 55) can provide further information.

Driving in the city

The efficiency of public transport, combined with the abundance of taxis available and the difficulty of getting a Chinese driver's license, make renting a car for no good reason seem unreasonable. Bicycles are ubiquitous and have been implicated in many road accidents. As a driver you should keep this in mind.

Car rental

If you cannot manage without your own car, you should definitely book the driver at the same time, because he is used to the high volume of traffic, the street signs in Chinese and the general chaos. If you still want to drive the rented car yourself, you need an international driver's license, a plane ticket, a passport and a credit card for the high deposit.

Avis works with the local company Anji Car Rental & Leasing (Tel: (21) 62 29 11 19; Internet: Shanghai Angel Car Rental (Tel: (21) 62 29 11 18) is one of the largest domestic rental companies and has branches at both airports. Dazhong (Tel: (21) 63 18 56 66) is also a reputable company.

Bike rental

Although bicycles can be rented from some tourist hostels, Shanghai is an extremely dangerous city for cyclists.

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