4 Ways to Skip Fares on the Shanghai Metro

The scanners originally put into use throughout the Shanghai Metro during bulked-up security efforts for Expo 2010 have been largely left in place seven months on — much to my and many other commuters’ annoyance. However, this vexation is not brought about because everyone is being relentlessly strong armed into scanning their bag. It’s quite the opposite case, in fact. For me, at least, why the scanners and personnel are even there at all piques me the most. The one or two metro employees usually posted in front of the scanner’s conveyor belt offer little instruction to commuters besides a feeble flick of the wrist (displaying where your bag should be placed) and a meek “Please put your bag here,” which frequently goes unheeded.

I couldn’t imagine a sober scenario that would involve me plainly ignoring metro police back in the US. It wouldn’t be worth taking the chance ruffling up the wrong person and consequently landing a $200 fine. Back on the Shanghai Metro, in contrast, passengers caught jumping the rail (逃票) get fined five times or less the value of their ticket — a measly 15RMB ($2.27). It is, then, no wonder that a recent spot check caught a raft of ticket evaders. According to an article in the Metro Express (which you can conveniently pick up for free in the Shanghai Metro), Lines 1, 6, and 8 are where the greatest amount of the culprits were caught. The article also outlined how people commonly go about screwing over the metro system, and broke them down into four groups (族), which I list below:

1. The Twin Group 双子族

Multiple people will share one card. This way, multiple passengers can squeeze through the turnstiles together.

2. The Blind Faith Group 本本族

This group uses falsified documents to apply for a special transit card, such as those belonging to a disabled or sick person, a solider or even the family member of a martyr (烈士家属), which apparently merits special treatment.

3. The Basement Loafer Group 啃老族

This group risks uses a senior citizen’s transit card to escape a portion of the fare, obviously hoping no one checks to confirm their age.

4. The Movement Group 运动族

This final group is the gutsiest. Easily put, without care of damage to their “name,” these freestyle hurdlers jump over the turnstiles, most of the time with a wide smirk lighting up their face.

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