What’s your impression of Shanghai’s Metro?Brighter than Paris’ and cleaner than Beijing’s? Regardless of other comparisons, it shares one thing withmost other subway systems in major cities around theworld: It is extremely crowded during rush hours. Millions of people in Shanghai take the Metro to work. After a long tiring day in the office, the stuffy crowded metro carriages can be depressing. Imagine if you could hear birds singing, read beautiful poems and look at colorful pictures would that brighten the trip?
Shanghai’s Metro may start using public spaces in metro lines to display arts and fashions. The Metro company has decided to turn Metro Line No. 13, the future Shanghai Expo line running to the Expo site, into another “exhibition hall” forthe event.Shanghai will have 11 Metro lines in 2010, totalling 400 kilometers, in which five lines, No. 4, 6, 7,8 and 13, will have stops in the 5.28-square kilometer World Expo site. The mini-line No. 13, with only four stations, is set to be the main transportation tool for the Expo site and will travel between the two sides of Huangpu River.
The metro stations of line No. 13 will have special “Expo direction” signs, Ying Minghong, chairman of the Shanghai Shentong Metro Group, told a forum on Metro and Expo.“Also, we will use Expo related colors and patterns in the 14 stations of the five metro lines running through the Expo site,” said Ying.“ Even if the visitors can’t read any Chinese or English, they will know which lines will take them to the Expo site. ”“The daily capacity of Shanghai’s Metro lines is estimated to reach six million by 2010,” said Hu Jingjun, deputy director of the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination.“About half of the daily 400,000 passengers visiting during the Expo period from May 1 to October 31 are expected to take Metrolines to the site,” said Hu. “The Metro is no longer a simple transport tool.
With lighting boxes and LCD screens, the trains could also be used in public promotion,” he added. Shanghai has already carried out a joint trial art project with Britain :Shanghai trains displayed some British poems on the Metro lines, while trains on London’s underground displayed Chinese ones. In Lisbon, Portugal, the total metro network covers only 19 kilometers, but the entire system doubles as an huge underground art gallery: Each station is decorated with artworks made from different tiles.
Local elements “Shanghai could invite young calligraphers to inscribe the names of metrostations,” suggested Albert Asseraf, director of strategy, research and marketing at JCDecaux, at the forum. “Also, the stations could have more Chinese traditional elements, such as tiles with papercut patterns on them,” said Asseraf. “And the stations on Huaihai Road, which symbolizes fashion in Shanghai, could display some of the city’s popular garments from different eras, such as the qipao, the traditional woman’s costume.
”Li Tiangang, a professor at Fudan University, suggested showcasing more of Shanghai’s history at the stations. Li said the Metro stations in the former Nanshi District (now part of Huangpu District), where people can see the original look of old Shanghai, could display some of its rich legacies from the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. “For Xujiahui,” Li said,“ some elements of latter day culture could be displayed, such as images of the city’s first observatory and the Xujiahui Cathedral, one of the largest Catholic churches in Asia.