Shanghai Metro 🚄 All 414 Stations and 16 Lines (2023 Update)

Discover the 414 Stations & 16 Lines of the Shanghai Metro + How to Use It

Need a complete guide to the Shanghai Metro for 2023? Great, you’ve come to the right place because the Shanghai Metro is NOT small!

The Shanghai Underground has grown rapidly in a relatively short space of time, the GIF below will demonstrate this perfectly!

Right now there are a mammoth 414 stations that make up 16 lines, but of course this number is always growing!

DID YOU KNOW – LTL Shanghai is located on Lines 1, 10, and 12 at Shaanxi South Road (陕西南路)!

Here’s a breakdown of how to navigate Shanghai’s monstrous underground, from buying tickets to which line is most efficient.

A Quick Evolution of the Shanghai Metro

How do I buy a ticket?

How expensive are the tickets?

What time does the subway close?

How do I transfer between lines?

What’s the Shanghai Metro app?

Line 1

Line 2

Line 3

Line 4

Line 5

Line 6

Line 7

Line 8

Line 9

Line 10

Line 11

Line 12

Line 13

Lines 14 and 15

Line 16

Line 17

The Verdict: Which line is best?

The Shanghai Metro — FAQs

Come and follow Cam as he teaches you how to find LTL Shanghai using the Shanghai Metro.

A Quick Evolution of the Shanghai Metro

Gif courtesy of Terramorphous on “Shanghai Metro”

All things considered, the Shanghai subway system was and is one of the fastest growing systems in the world.

The rapid expansion leading up to 2010 was mainly because Shanghai hosted the World Expo 2010; in fact, ridership that year increased by 42.9%.

As of 2021, there are multiple lines planned.

Specifically, Lines 14, 15, and 18 are under construction, and expansion is happening for Line 10.

Altogether, this will amount to approximately 800 km (about 500 mi).

Additionally, by the end of 2025, the Shanghai government plans for all locations in city center to be within 600 m of a metro station.

Shanghai’s subway system leads the world in annual ridership, second only to Beijing.

YearAnnual Ridership (billions)Increase from Previous Year
Statistics from yearly Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Statistics report (2019)

How do I buy a ticket for the Shanghai Metro?

Self-service machine at Shanxi South Road (陕西南路)
Self-service machine

Basically, there are three ways to get a ticket for the Shanghai metro!

If you’re a tourist here only for a few days, a one-time swipe card is works well.

All you have to do is buy a ticket — you scan it when you enter the station, and you insert it into the turnstile when you exit.

They’re available at the self-service machines (coins, cash, and mobile payment) in all stations.

If you’re here for longer than a couple of days, I’d suggest you get yourself a metro card. It is available both as a physical card and electronic payment.

Shanghai subway card
Shanghai subway card

If you’d like a physical card, they’re available at the service center for 20 RMB each (some stations also sell them in the self-service machines).

The 20 RMB refundable if you no longer want it but gone if you lose it.

You can charge them at the service center (cash only) as well as the self-service machines (coins, cash, mobile payment, and bank card). Keep in mind, some machines are coin-only, cash-only, or mobile payment online.

However, if you’re like me and have lost your card three times now, electronic payment is a lifesaver. It’s available on Apple Pay and WeChat, and there’s also a separate app named Metro Daduhui (Metro 大都会) which uses Alipay.

For all, there’s a 20 RMB refundable fee to purchase a card.

How expensive are the tickets?

Overall, very affordable.

Tickets run from 3 to 15 RMB increasing by length (km), though a trip of that price might take you more than two hours.

As long as you have more than 0.1 RMB on your card, you’ll be able to take the subway.

If you download the Shanghai subway app (上海地铁通), it has the prices available.

What time does the subway close?

Closing times depend on the subway station and line.

Less busy lines tend to close earlier, and busier ones tend to close later. Subways generally open around 5:30 to 6:00 a.m. and close around 11 p.m. to a bit before midnight.

Additionally, these times are available in each station, a quick Baidu search, and on the app.

How do I transfer between lines?

For 99 percent of the time, you simply go up the escalator and follow the signs to the line you need to transfer to.

Sometimes the subways going in opposite directions are different platforms, so keep an eye out for that.

Unfortunately for the other annoying one percent of the time, you have to exit the station and enter another.

This requires swiping your card and specifically, you have 30 minutes to transfer for it to be counted as one trip.

What’s the Shanghai Metro app?

If you’re staying in Shanghai longer than a few days, the Shanghai Metro app (上海地铁通) is a must-have.

It’s saved me from going extra stops and missing the last train innumerable times now.

From People's Square to Shaanxi South Road. The trip will take 5 minutes, cost 3 RMB, and take 2 stops.
People’s Square to Shaanxi South Road

The app has a lot of functions.

For getting from Point A to Point B, the app tells you:

  • The fastest route
  • The amount of time your trip will take
  • The amount of money you’ll need
  • The number of stops needed
  • The opening and closing times for the first and last stop on your route
  • The driving distance and cost if you taxied
  • The direction your subway will be headed (if separate platforms)

Furthermore, for individual stations, the app tells you:

  • The opening and closing times for each direction
  • Whether or not there is a bathroom (there likely is)
  • Where the service center is located
  • Where each exit takes you

This app, unfortunately, is entirely in Chinese. Even so, it’s fairly easy to understand as information is organized very logically.

Line 1

Shanghai Metro Line 1 - Welcome to Xujiahui
Welcome to Xujiahui

Pros: Goes to quite a lot of desirable metro stations, including Xujiahui, Changshu Rd, People’s Square, and Shanghai Railway Station. Let’s also not forget LTL Shanghai’s South Shaanxi Road Station!

Cons: Being the oldest metro line, the stations and trains can be run down and walks to other lines are longer than average.

The terminus stations fill up instantly with commuters heading to the city centre, so good luck ever getting a seat if you’re located near the end.

Overall Rating: 3/5

Line 2

Pros: Has a good selection of metro stations, such as Zhongshan Park, Jing’an Temple, and People’s Square.

Connects both Pudong and Hongqiao airports, Hongqiao train station, and the Pudong airport maglev.

Cons: Full of tourists and some line transfers are longer than average.

Stations and trains are a bit older, though in better shape than Line 1.

Overall Rating: 5/5

Line 3

Pros: Can choose to ride either line 3 or 4 in the center of the line and goes to the central Shanghai railway station.

Cons: Being aboveground, it requires more than the average amount of stair climbing. Trains are in somewhat worse shape than line 4 trains.

Overall Rating: 3/5

Line 4

Pros: Can choose to ride either line 3 or 4 in the northern section of the line and goes to the main train station. Trains are in somewhat better shape than line 3 trains.

Cons: The aboveground section requires more stairs than most underground metro stations.

Overall Rating: 4/5

Line 5

Shanghai Metro Line 5 - Not our favourite line!
Shanghai Metro Line 5 – Not our favourite line!

Pros: Really none unless you need to get to the far end of Minhang.

Cons: Overcrowded and shorter hours than other metro lines, only connecting to line 1. Does not go anywhere except the far end of Minhang.

New extension requires changing trains in the middle of the line.

Seriously, even though the rent is cheap, don’t live on line 5 if you can avoid it.

Overall Rating: 1/5

Shanghai Facts (for 2022) - Numbers That Blow Your Mind Thumbnail

Shanghai Facts (for 2022) – Numbers That Blow Your Mind

Shanghai Facts and Figures (for 2022) – Incredible Numbers In 2011 I got talking with a professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University. One thing he told me that day has stuck with me since. He told me that 25% of all…

Line 6

Pros: Goes through Pudong, if you need to go through Pudong. Several metro line transfers available at Century Park.

Cons: Trains seem to have a lower than average amount of seating room. Doesn’t go anywhere in the city center, so it does not have any particularly exciting stations. Still a bit better than line 5.

Overall Rating: 2/5

Line 7

Shanghai Metro Line 7 - Jing'an Temple
Shanghai Metro Line 7 – Jing’an Temple

Pros: Has a few good stations such as Jing’an Temple and Changshu Rd. Also has a central route that allows for relatively convenient connection to other metro lines.

Very long line that extends from the north of Shanghai all the way down south and through to the east of the city via the maglev.

Cons: Goes to the Pudong airport maglev, but by a more roundabout way than line 2.

Overall Rating: 3/5

Line 8

Pros: Seemingly less crowded than average.

Cons: Does not go much of anywhere, seems to exist just to connect suburbs to the city center. Transfers to other metro lines are mostly not in central locations, leading to longer travel time overall.

Overall Rating: 2/5

Line 9

Pros: Has a good choice of fun stops through the southern central part of Puxi such as Xujiahui, Dapuqiao, and Xiaonanmen. Connects both Songjiang and Pudong. The Pudong section of the line is relatively uncrowded.

Cons: The Songjiang section is full of commuters at all hours of the day and does not go to any transportation hubs.

Overall Rating: 3/5

Line 10

Pros: Goes right through the middle of town, with a good stop selection and easy transfers, and stops at Hongqiao railway station.

Cons: Also stops at nearly every tourist trap in Shanghai.

Overall Rating: 4/5

Line 11

Shanghai Metro - Disney Station
Shanghai Metro – Disney Station

Pros: Goes to Disneyland aNd through the western end of town, but not so far west that you’re out in the suburbs.

(I suppose this might be a con if you dislike children…)

Cons: Seems to have particularly bad rush hour crowds compared to other metro lines.

Does not go to any transportation hubs.

Overall Rating: 2/5

Line 12

Map of Nanjing West Rd Station
Map of Nanjing West Rd Station

Pros: Has a couple decent stops in the middle of town such as South Shaanxi Rd, West Nanjing Rd.

Seems a bit less crowded than the average metro line.

Cons: Does not go to any transportation hubs (unless you count the cruise terminal).

Includes the undeniably worst line transfer in Shanghai, West Nanjing Rd, in which you actually have to leave the station to get on the other lines.

Overall Rating: 3/5

Line 13

Pros: Has a good number of desirable central stops (Natural History Museum through Madang Rd).

Cons: Does not go to any transportation hubs and also has the terrible West Nanjing Road transfer.

Overall Rating: 3/5

Lines 14 and 15

Pros: Lines 14 and 15, which opened in 2020 and 2021 respectively, have some pretty snazzy stations and we’d recommend checking them out!

Cons: Not too many, but they did open behind schedule. Not that we’d hold that against them…

Line 16

Pros: The only line that has escalators directly connecting one line platform to the other. Is this new technology in Shanghai?

Or is there a conspiracy to improve overall physical fitness by forcing commuters to climb stairs?

Cons: Goes absolutely nowhere except the ocean, but it’s a solid contender for most depressing beach in the world!

At least you have a couple choices of lines to connect to once you are back in Shanghai proper?

Overall Rating: 0/5

Line 17

Pros: Goes to Hongqiao railway station.

Cons: Location-wise, it’s only slightly better than line 16, and only because of the train station (and maybe Zhujiajiao).

Again, not a desirable place to live.

Overall Rating: 1/5

Line 18

Pros: Your only option if you are unfortunate enough to live on this line.

Cons: Does this even count as part of Shanghai anymore?

Overall Rating: -1/5

Shanghai Metro – The Verdict

Speaking as someone whose work required taking the Shanghai metro 4 or more times a day, your apartment’s quality of line can undoubtedly have a significant impact on your quality of life.

Which metro line you live on evidently makes a huge difference in how long it takes to get around this enormous city.

Similarly, being on a convenient line can allow you to live farther from the city center without sacrificing your access to fun.

Before you choose an apartment, make sure you’ve considered which subway line it’s on!

We’ll keep this updated year on year but if you have any experiences or thoughts on the Shanghai metro, leave a comment and tell us what you think!

Also, check out our guides to the Beijing and Singapore metro!

But for now, we hope to see you in Shanghai soon…

Shanghai Metro – FAQs

Does Shanghai have a subway?

Shanghai does have a subway! It’s one of the longest in the world with one of the most daily riders.

How many stations does the Shanghai Subway have?

Currently there are 414 stations that make up the Shanghai metro.

How do you use the Shanghai metro?

You buy a ticket, one-swipe or a more permanent one, to get through the turnstile.

After, you go to the subway platform for your train. You can transfer lines accordingly.

How much does the Shanghai metro cost?

Depending on the distance, anywhere from 3 to 15 RMB.

What time does the metro close?

Most lines open around 5:30 to 6:30 a.m. and close around 10:30 to 11:30 p.m. This may be earlier or later depending on how busy each line is.

How do I buy metro tickets in Shanghai?

For one-time swipe tickets, all stations have self-service machines where you can pay by coins, cash, bankcard, WeChat pay, and Alipay. You can also buy a more permanent physical card at each station’s service center (some also have machines for this) or on your phone.

How many metro lines are there in Shanghai?

As of 2020, there are 16 lines of the Shanghai metro. A number of lines are planned to be added or expanded.

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  8. How long does it take to get to pudong airport?

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      Hi Jane,

      From city center, it’d take about an hour to get to Pudong International Airport. Depends on how far you are, though!


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      The Shanghai subway system is pretty affordable! A few stops is around 3 RMB, which is less than half a US dollar


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  11. S Laci

    14 & 15 are finished. There is also a Pujiang line, and the Maglev line which doesn’t belong to the Metro system. Altogether 20 lines in 2022.
    Transfers: “you have 30 minutes to transfer for it to be counted as one trip.” I would add, “One-time swipe cards don’t allow transfer in those places, so you need to pay again”.

    1. LTL Team HQ

      Thanks for that, we will update the article 🙂