Helping the Metro connect the city and its people

"The Metro system is like a bond connecting people and the city. Every new line brings vitality and opportunities to the place it reaches."

Sun Chunxia helping a passenger out at the Century Avenue Station.

Personal profile

Sun Chunxia, born in Yantai of Shandong Province in March 1978, came to Shanghai 18 years ago, 12 of which have been spent working for the city's Metro system. 

The Century Avenue Station is like the “stem cell” of the city’s Metro system that bred a great number of fine Metro employees. Sun’s junior colleagues call her the big sister, and she was recognized as an "advanced individual" of World Expo in 2010, as a "woman of distinction," and she was awarded a Shanghai Labor Medal. 

Sun was also elected as a deputy to the 10th Congress of the CPC Shang­hai Committee.

She has witnessed the rapid development of Shanghai's Metro after the reform and opening-up, leading to today where tens of millions of commuters every day ride the world’s longest Metro system. 

None of this could have been achieved if not for the effort and dedication of people like Sun: ordinary people with extraordinary hearts.

Sun Chunxia sharing her experience in service with volunteers from residential communities.

My story

Shanghai, a metropolis flourished alongside the Huangpu River, where many people chase their dreams. I’m one of those dream chasers. I have had rough times, I have cried bitter tears, but I also gained trust, gratification and a sense of identity.

I came to Shanghai in 2000 from Shandong and became a member of the Metro family in April 2006. “Learn to communicate with the passengers, try to see things from their perspective and work to gain wider experience." That's what my mentor Qiu Yuping, who was also a "model worker" of the city, told me. I keep it at heart.

I once worked at the busy People’s Square station. At the time there were only two lines stopping at the station, but it was surrounded by landmarks like People’s Square, Shanghai Grand Theater, Nanjing Road Pedestrian Mall, Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center and a great number of bus lines and office buildings. My first lesson to learn was to memorize all the landmarks and public transport information.

In early 2007, I was transferred to the Century Avenue Station, which, at the time, was still Dongfang Road Station. I became rooted there. 

It was the first station in Shanghai Metro to start operating a service center. At that time, there were only Line 2 and Line 4, and the work pressure was not heavy. But with the adding of Line 6 and Line 9, the station at the junction of Zhangyang and Dongfang roads soon became the most important traffic hub in the Pudong New Area.

Many passengers didn’t have a clue when the new lines started to operate. We made boards and signs with directions and held them in the station to guide commuters. The guiding system in Metro stations kept evolving, especially the display of direction information. LED screens were introduced to tell the passenger volume and timetable of trains.

In order to serve the large passenger flow during the 2010 World Expo, the station went through a half-month renovation in which the tunnels to the turnstiles were parted by guardrails. But the passengers got upset because they had to walk more before passing the turnstiles. “Why not let us walk straight to it instead of making us take detours in the station?” passengers would ask me. My job was to patiently explain to them time and time again that it had to be done so that large numbers of passengers could be better handled.

Facts proved that it was right to centralize inquiry, ticketing and station management to a service center. It laid a good foundation for the Metro to improve its service system.

Diaries of Sun Chunxia which recorded years of service that this ordinary station attendant provided to passengers.

With the development of the Metro network, more big junction stations were built. The Century Avenue Station is like the “stem cell” of the city’s Metro system. In 2009, I formed a service team named after myself. I also summed up six keynotes to do service better – to welcome the passengers with a warm heart, to observe their needs carefully, to help them proactively, to answer their questions patiently, to learn from work humbly and to provide all services wholeheartedly. 

I trained a good number of new station attendants. I told them when you are on duty, instead of passively sort passengers' issues out, you should voluntarily help them out. Passengers will feel the difference in the different attitudes. Now, it has become the service standard for every single Metro staff member.

In April 2016, the Disney Resort Station opened to the public. I became the mentor of the staff there. The Shanghai Disney Resort draws tourists from all over the world. Staff at the station are a window to the city, so the better we do in our jobs, the more tourists will like Shanghai.

In June 2013, the Metro established a service innovation studio. I gave lectures about public safety in Metro stations to colleagues, neighborhood committee staff, schools and office building management.

Once I met a station attendant in a station. She told me she listened to my class once. That was a moment when I truly felt proud. Now I have given lectures more than 20 times and more than 1,000 people have been to my class. I think this is how we build a brand as well as deliver our service and love to the public. 

I wrote down every detail of my daily routines in a diary which was later published. When the Metro operators in Xi’an and Shenyang contacted me for the diary, I felt so proud that my experience of serving passengers can fly out of Shanghai and be spread countrywide.

The 12 years I have worked at Shanghai Metro are also the years where the Metro has grown vigorously. I’m grateful that this 12 years gave me a chance to witness and be a part of the grand development of this encompassing metropolis. 

The Metro system is like a bond connecting people and the city. Every new line brings vitality and opportunities to the place it reaches. From having only three lines in 2006, to 17 lines covering 673 kilometers of tracks, I feel more responsibility on my shoulders. I must better cultivate my team to face the many possible challenges in the future.

More than often I’m asked: “How can you keep your passion for your job for so long as it seems to be quite boring?” I think the work has become a part of my life, watching people from all over the world using the Metro.

I am one of the many who witnessed and helped build this vigorous city into being. I love Shanghai and I would like to continue standing on my post to give more of what I can offer for the Metro of Shanghai.

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