The Course to Shanghai
Despite having the biggest population in China and being highly urban, transportation in the city of Shanghai is relatively more convenient than in Beijing. This could be partly attributed to the government’s works in response to easing traffic congestion. Such works include building subways and roads and creating new routes for buses. Currently, Shanghai holds the largest public transportation system in the world, consequently servicing the most number of passengers in a city.
Tourists coming from other countries will arrive at Pudong International Airport. Pudong is more or less 45 minutes from the center of the city. You can take the swift maglev train that pass between Longyang Road and Pudong Airport and links the airport to the subway system of Shanghai. Alternatively, you can take a taxi, especially if you are not staying in Pudong.
Local tourists coming from within the country will arrive at Shanghai Airport. The airport is around 25 minutes from the center of the City on the western part of Shanghai. Taking a taxi from the airport is the best means to get around Shanghai from the airport.
Getting a means of transportation in Shanghai is generally easy and simple. Public utility vehicles such as taxis, sightseeing buses, and taxi buses are readily accessible to transport you around the city. Riding in a public bus is a low-cost way of getting around Shanghai. Aside from traffic, language barrier would be one of the problems that you might encounter while riding a bus.
There are also rental cars available for those who would like to drive themselves. However, you must be warned that, during rush hour, the overhead roads in the metropolitan area within the Inner Ring usually become overcrowded. So, try to stay away from such area during such time of the day in order to avoid any inconvenience.
Most tourists usually hire a car, together with a driver. Although a bus ride would be cheaper, taxi fare is not really that expensive. With the base fare of US$1.35, you can already travel a relatively long distance. It would be really helpful if you have the address of your destination written in Chinese because most of the taxi drivers do not know how to speak or understand English.
Another way to get around Shanghai conveniently is through the subway or Metro system. It is expedient to travel by the subway system, with its five subway lines having connections over the City of Shanghai. In addition, the stopovers of the subway are usually in close proximity to major industrial districts in the city. As assistance to foreign travellers, signs in the subways are written in Chinese and English. To accommodate greater number of passengers and to reach farther destinations by 2010, the subway system is going through a substantial renovation.
Yangpu Bridge, Nanpu Bridge, Lupu Bridge, Xupu Bridge, and other channels across the Huangpu River connect Puxi Area and Pudong New District. You can travel via ferries which serve as shuttle service across the Huangpo River. In addition, there are ferryboats accessible between the mainland of Shanghai and the three islands of Hengsha, Chongming, and Changqing.
For foreign travelers, getting around Shanghai may be easy yet challenging. Aside from knowing the available modes of transportation, learning some Chinese phrases would help you a lot in reaching your destination.