Metro, Bus and Ferry Services in Shanghai

Information about the city public transport system, including details on where to buy tickets and how to use the Shanghai Public Transportation Card...

Shanghai’s public transport system consists of extensive subway, bus and train routes. The city also runs a ferry across the HuangPu River in addition to a light railway link for transport to Pudong Airport. However, these services do not usually run between 23:00 and 05:30.

Shanghai Public Transportation Card

The Shanghai Public Transportation Card (SPTC), or Jiao Tong Ka, can be used to pay for bus, subway, light rail, taxi, and ferry journeys in Shanghai. The cards work on a debit system whereby the cardholder puts money on the card on purchase (including a deposit) and the cost of each journey is automatically deducted from the card as it is used. Transportation cards can be purchased at service desks in metro stations, at banks or at convenience stores. The cards can also be topped-up as necessary.


The metro system in Shanghai is a very efficient method of travel and incorporates subway as well as light railway lines. It consists of 11 lines and is more than 400 Km  long. The fare charged depends on the distance travelled.

  • To calculate the fare for different destinations: Click here

The metro lines run from around 05:00 to 22:30, depending on the line.

Buying a ticket

Tickets can be bought from the ticket vending machine, which requires customers to select the final stop on the on-screen map to determine the fare. These single-ride tickets must be inserted into the gates with green arrows when exiting the station rather than being swiped.

Children less than 1.2m can take the metro for free, but cannot travel alone. Each adult may only take one child onto the metro for free.

Getting around

Each street exit is numbered with its destination clearly labelled in both Chinese and English. The correct exit should be determined before leaving the station as the exits are often quite separated from each other above ground. Maps, often with names in English, and information desks are located near the exit gates.

English and Chinese signs on the walls and arrows printed on the ground clearly mark the path to transfer lines.

Signs pointing towards the metro will appear about a third of a mile from the station and are identifiable by the metro logo, an elongated red M surrounded by a red circle on a white background. Metro stations are often connected to the lower level of department stores, or linked to a large underground mall complex.

When entering the station, backpacks and other large bags must be passed through the security scanner.

No pets, bikes or skateboards are allowed in the metro. Food is allowed, however.


With nearly 1,000 bus lines, Shanghai’s bus system stretches throughout the city and into the surrounding area.

English-language services are limited but some buses, especially those in downtown areas, have English on-board announcements in addition to Chinese.

Bus stops are identifiable by a tall pole with a plate stating the bus number, upcoming bus stops, and service times.

Bus services are numbered as follows:

  • Less than 200: common route
  • 200-299: rush hour
  • 300-399: night routes
  • 400-499: crosses the river
  • 600-699: Pudong routes to airport lines, tunnels and bridges
  • 700-799: suburbs
  • 800-999: Puxi routes to airport lines, tunnels and bridges

Fares can be paid using a Shanghai Public Transportation Card or with cash.


The ferry at the Bund is an inexpensive way to travel the Huangpu River and see the shoreline. The dock in Puxi is located at East Jingling Road and can be accessed by walking towards the Bund on East Nanjing Road and turning right onto the Bund.

The Pudong dock is located at Dongchang Road, which is a 10 to 15 minute walk south of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower.

The ferry fare can be paid with a Shanghai Public Transportation Card or ferry tokens can be purchased at the dock entrance.