All Metro turnstiles in Shanghai get ready for phone scanning by year-end

All turnstiles in Shanghai's Metro stations will be equipped with scanners for passengers to swipe their phones to board the trains by the end of this year.
Zhou Chengjie / SHINE

Passengers line up in front of a turnstile that supports QR code scanning at Gongkang Road Station of Line 1 on March 9, 2018.

All turnstiles at Metro stations in Shanghai will be equipped with scanners for passengers to swipe their phones to board the trains by the end of this year, the operator said on Saturday.

The city's subway network handled a daily record high of 12.23 million passengers on March 9, according to the Shanghai Shentong Metro Group. About 25 percent of the passengers use Metro Daduhui app on their phone to scan their way into the station on weekdays and 20 percent on weekends, said Yu Guangyao, head of the group.

Yet some stations have only two turnstiles that support QR code scanning at each exit, which has slowed down the passenger flow.

After the rush hour had passed around 9pm on March 9 at Gongkang Road Station of Line 1, a long line of passengers was still waiting at the two turnstiles which support QR code scanning while no one was going through the other turnstiles.

The situation is similar at many other Metro stations, attracting complaints from some passengers.

Li Yi, a college student, said she could hardly put up with the long queue, adding that "Why don't they add more turnstiles for the phone scanning?"

Feng Hao from the Metro operator said it takes time to refit more turnstiles with the QR code scanning system as the workers mostly do it after service hours at night.

Fang Le, a white-collar officer who takes Line 2 every morning, said he would prefer the public transport card as it takes a shorter time to get through.

"I think the smartphone is a good choice for tourists since they don't have to buy tickets every time," said Fang. "But for me the card is more convenient."

A staff worker at Weining Road Station of Line 2 told Shanghai Daily that many passengers didn't take out their phones until they reached the turnstiles, which slowed the whole process as they had to open the app and find the QR code.

Yu said apart from adding more turnstiles with scanners, WeChat payment method via the phone will also be introduced later this year. The Metro operator said it is also working to improve the transport capacity of the trains.

"By 2020, passengers who take Line 2 to Pudong International Airport won't have to get off at Guanglan Road Station and transfer to a smaller, six-carriage train," said Yu. "All Line 2 trains will have eight carriages each and the refurbishment of station platforms and tracks will soon begin."

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