Shanghai metro lines extend out station as commuters try out new QR code system

While things have been running smoothly at many subway stations in the city, there have been a few hiccups

On Saturday, the Shanghai Metro began accepting QR code payments for the first time, however, rather than speeds things up, it has had quite the opposite effect at some stations as commuters struggled with the new system.

Last week, Shanghai’s subway operator announced the launch of its “Metro Daduhui” app, at last giving the city’s commuters the option to rid themselves of the burden of transportation cards and simply enter the subway via QR code with their phone, paid with through Unionpay or Alipay.

At least four turnstiles (two entering and two exiting) that support QR code payments were set up at each metro station in the city, however that turns out to have not been enough (or perhaps too many) at some locations with a limited number of turnstiles available for commuters.

According to Shine, the Pengpu Xincun Station on Line 1 saw extremely long lines of commuters during rush hour on Monday morning, as residents waited to try out the new system for the first time. Reportedly, at one point, the queue extended all the way out of the station’s hall and onto its pedestrian bridge.

“I lined up for more than 10 minutes. I ended up using my transport card as I was running late for work,” one commuter is quoted as complaining, adding that it was “exhausting just to get in to the station.”

On Weibo, others have also described the experience of trying to use the new QR code scanners as a realistic test run for the annual Chinese New Year travel mayhem that will soon be upon us all.

However, other subway stations with a larger number commuter turnstiles reportedly didn’t experience anything too out of the ordinary. Since its launch of QR code payments on Saturday, Shanghai’s metro operator has deployed a number of workers and volunteers to help commuters with the new system and ensure that things run smoothly.

One of these volunteers told Shine that the most common problem he encountered was commuters who forgot to turn on their Bluetooth, or who held their phones too close to the scanner.

At this point, the “Metro Daduhui” app has well over 1 million downloads, but its success and efficiency isn’t as much of a concern for the city’s foreigners, who still are unable to use the system.

[Images via Shine / Shanghai Metro]