Guangzhou Metro

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Guangzhou Metro
Guangzhou Metro logo.svg
Overview
Owner City of Guangzhou
Locale Guangzhou
Foshan
Transit type Rapid transit
Number of lines 9
Number of stations 164[note 1]
Daily ridership 5.627 million (2013 average)[1]
7.942 million (1 May 2014 record)[2]
Annual ridership 2.054 billion (2013)[1]
Website www.gzmtr.com
Operation
Began operation 28 June 1997
Operator(s) Guangzhou Metro Corporation
Number of vehicles 242 trains (as of 2012)[3]
Technical
System length 260.5 km (161.9 mi)[4]
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Minimum radius of curvature 206 m (676 ft)[5]
Electrification
Refs[6][7][8] Overhead lines Third rail
1500 V DC 1 2 3
8 GF
4 5 6
600 V AC APM
System map
Guangzhou Metro
Traditional Chinese 廣州地鐵
Simplified Chinese 广州地铁
Cantonese Jyutping Gwong²zau¹ Dei⁶tit³
Cantonese Yale Gwóngjàu Dèihtít
Hanyu Pinyin Guǎngzhōu Dìtiě

Guangzhou Metro (simplified Chinese: 广州地铁; traditional Chinese: 廣州地鐵; pinyin: Guǎngzhōu Dìtiě; Jyutping: Gwong²zau¹ Dei⁶tit³) is the metro system of the city of Guangzhou in Guangdong Province of China. It is operated by the state-owned Guangzhou Metro Corporation and was the fourth metro system to be built in mainland China, after those of Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai.

The earliest efforts to build an underground rapid transit system in Guangzhou date back to 1960. In the two decades that followed, the project was brought into the agenda five times, but ended up abandoned each time due to financial and technical difficulties.[9][10] Preparation of what would lead to today's Guangzhou Metro did not start until the 1980s, and it was not until 1993 that construction of the first line, Line 1, officially began.[10][11] Line 1 opened four years later in 1997 with five stations in operation.[12]

As of December 2013, Guangzhou Metro has nine lines in operation, namely Line 1, Line 2, Line 3, Line 4, Line 5, Line 6, Line 8, Guangfo Line, and Zhujiang New Town APM. A major portion of the metro system services the urban areas of the city, while Lines 2, 3 and 4 also reach into the suburban areas in Huadu, Baiyun District, Panyu and Nansha; Guangfo Line connects Guangzhou and Foshan and is the first intercity underground metro line in the country.[13] Daily service hours start at 6:00 am and end at midnight, and ridership averages 5.63 million.[1][14] Having delivered 2.054 billion rides in 2013, Guangzhou Metro is the sixth busiest metro system in the world, after the metro systems of Tokyo, Seoul, Moscow, Beijing, and Shanghai.[1] Guangzhou Metro operates 164 stations,[note 1] including 21 interchange stations, and 260.5 km of tracks.

Extensive development of the metro network has been planned for the decade of 2011–2020. Three new lines, Line 7, Line 9 and Line 13, and extensions of Line 6, Line 8 and Guangfo Line are already under construction and expected to be completed between 2015 and 2017. Total operational capacity is scheduled to exceed 600 km by 2020.[15]

History[edit]

Forays of the 1960s and 1970s[edit]

A city cannot be modernized without a metro system!

—Chen Yu, Governor of Guangdong 1957–1967[note 2]

Chen Yu (Chinese: 陈郁), Governor of Guangdong in 1957–1967,[16] was the first to have proposed an underground metro system for Guangzhou. In the summer of 1960, he ordered a secret geological survey of groundwater levels of Guangzhou. Six holes with an accumulated depth of 1980 m were drilled in the plateaus and alluvial plains in the city. The geological conditions of Guangzhou, despite their complexity, did not preclude the possibility of an underground metro system. Analysis of the survey data resulted in a confidential report titled Geological Survey for Guangzhou Underground Railway Project dated July 1961, the earliest one of such reports.[9]

In 1965, Chen Yu along with Tao Zhu (Chinese: 陶铸), who had been the Governor of Guangdong and First Secretary of Guangdong Committee of the Communist Party of China, proposed in the wake of the Gulf of Tonkin incident that a tunnel be built in Guangzhou for wartime evacuations and post-war metro development. Approved by the central government, the project started in the spring of 1965. Due to its confidentiality in the context of intensification of the Vietnam War, the project adopted the obscure name of "Project Nine" (Chinese: 九号工程), where "Nine" was the number of strokes in "地下", the Chinese word for "underground".[10]

As envisaged by Chen Yu, the metro system of Guangzhou would consist of two lines: a north-south line that would connect Nanfang Building to Sanyuanli via Renmin Lu and Jiefang Beilu, and an east-west line that would run from Xichang to Dongshan along today's Dongfeng Lu. The two lines roughly parallelled Line 2 and Line 1 of the modern days, respectively. The east-west line was never built, while Project Nine was dedicated to the north-south line. Over ten teams of miners were recruited for a project filled with hazards and perils. Constrained by extreme scarcity of time, monetary and material resources, the ambition to build a tunnel for metro operation was scaled back—capability to run trolleybuses was deemed acceptable. At a cost of ¥13 million, an 8 km long tunnel was completed in 1966. The tunnel was ready for use as an air-raid shelter; however, with a cross-section merely 3 m wide and 2.85 m tall, and exposed rocks and wooden trestles scattered everywhere, it was totally unusable for public transit. In the two decades that followed, four attempts were made to revive and expand Project Nine, first in 1970, next in 1971, then in 1974, and last in 1979. None of these efforts eventually materialized.[10]

Construction of Line 1[edit]

The metro project of Guangzhou was launched for the sixth time in 1984 as the Preparation Office of Guangzhou Metro, established back in 1979 as part of the last attempt to resurrect Project Nine, was moved out of the civil air defence system and became a subordinate body of the Construction Commission of Guangzhou, bringing Guangzhou Metro into the scope of urban infrastructure development. Prior to the 1980s, war preparedness was the dominant tenet of underground infrastructure projects in mainland China. The construction of Guangzhou Metro marked the first deviation from the old doctrine as traffic itself became the prime consideration of the project.[10]

Metro network design of Guangzhou selected in 1988

Design of the metro network was a collaborative effort between China and France. Four tentative designs were published on 14 March 1988 edition of Guangzhou Daily. From the four designs, one was selected based on expert and mass feedbacks. The selected design, featuring two intersecting lines, provided an embryonic form of the eventual layout of Line 1 and Line 2.[10]

Construction of Line 1 officially commenced on 28 December 1993, although work on a trial section at Huangsha had begun in October 1992, five months before the feasibility study of the line was ratified by the State Planning Commission[note 3] in March 1993.[10][11] Various technologies novel to China's construction industry at the time were adopted in different sections of the project, notably including immersed tubes (Pearl River Tunnel) and tunnel boring machines (Huangsha–Martyrs' Park section).[11] As the most massive urban infrastructure project in history of Guangzhou, Line 1 required a funding of ¥12.75 billion, all of which was raised by the local government.[17] Use of cut-and-cover tunnels aggressively backed by then-mayor Li Ziliu necessitated relocation of approximately 100,000 residents in 20,000 households and demolition of buildings totalling 1.1 km2 in area and earned Li the nickname "Li the Demolisher" (Chinese: 黎拆屋).[18][19]

Three and a half years after construction started, the 5.4 km section from Xilang to Huangsha opened for trial operation on 28 June 1997. The remaining 13 km, from Huangsha to Guangzhou East Railway Station, was completed eighteen months later on 28 December 1998.[20] The entire line opened for sightseeing tours between 16 February and 2 March 1999, delivering 1.39 million rides during 15 days before closing for final testing.[21] Operation of Line 1 officially began on 28 June 1999, 34 years after the start of Project Nine in 1965.[12]

Accelerated expansion in the 2000s[edit]

Evolution of Guangzhou Metro

The success of Line 1 as a turnkey project acquired from Siemens[22] with 100% imported electromechanical equipment prompted a wave of similar proposals from twelve other cities in mainland China toward the end of the 1990s. The fever for import-centric rapid transit caused the State Planning Committee to temporarily halt approval of rapid transit projects nationwide and regulate the localisation rates of rolling stock suppliers. Amid tightened regulation, only Line 2 of Guangzhou Metro received the immediate green light to proceed in June 1998 on the condition that at least 60% of its electromechanical equipment must be sourced domestically.[23]

Construction of Line 2 started in July 1998.[24] Rolling stock manufacturer Bombardier airlifted the first two train cars in an An-124 from Berlin to Guangzhou in November 2002 after schedule delays.[23][note 4] The first section, from Sanyuanli to Xiaogang, opened on 29 December 2002; the remaining section from Xiaogang to Pazhou opened on 28 June 2003.[25][26] At ¥2.13 billion, the equipment cost of Line 2 was 53% lower than that of Line 1. This demonstrated the feasibility of cost reduction through procurement of domestic equipment, revealling a path to project approval to other Chinese cities and reigniting their aspirations to own rapid transit systems.[23]

The renewed craze for rapid transit across the country soon encountered a new round of tightened control on project approval around 2003. But Guangzhou was exempted along with Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.[27] By the time Line 2 was completed, construction of Line 3, Line 4 and Guangfo Line had been underway,[26] among which only Guangfo Line later fell casualty to stringent regulation.[27]

Lines in operation[edit]

Summary[edit]

Line Terminals Opened Newest
extension
Length
in km
Stations Trains
as of 2010[28]
Heavy rail
Line 1 Guangzhou East Railway Station Xilang 1997 1999 18.5 16 28
Line 2 Jiahewanggang Guangzhou South Railway Station 2002 2010 31.4 24 36
Line 3 Airport South / Tianhe Coach Terminal Tiyu Xilu / Panyu Square 2005 2010 67.3 28 42
Line 4 Huangcun Jinzhou 2005 2010 43.7 16 30
Line 5 Jiaokou Wenchong 2009 31.9 24 30
Line 6 Xunfenggang Changban 2013 24.5 22
Line 8 Fenghuang Xincun Wanshengwei 2003 2010 14.8 13 17
Guangfo Kuiqi Lu Xilang 2010 20.4 14 14
Light rail
APM Linhexi Canton Tower 2010 3.9 9 6

Line 1[edit]

Line 1 runs from Xilang to Guangzhou East Railway Station, with a total length of 18.5 km. Except Kengkou and Xilang, all stations in Line 1 are underground.[29] The line interchanges with Line 2 at Gongyuanqian, Line 3 at Tiyu Xilu and Guangzhou East Railway Station, Line 5 at Yangji, Line 6 at Dongshankou and Huangsha, and Guangfo Line at Xilang. Its first section, from Xilang to Huangsha, opened on 28 June 1997, making Guangzhou the fourth city in mainland China to have a metro system. The full line started operation two years later on 28 June 1999.

Huijiang Station of Line 2

Line 2[edit]

Line 2 is a north-south line that runs from Jiahewanggang to Guangzhou South Railway Station. It interchanges with Line 1 at Gongyuanqian, Line 5 at Guangzhou Railway Station, and Line 8 at Changgang. Until 21 September 2010, it ran from Sanyuanli to Wanshengwei. Its first section, between Sanyuanli and Xiaogang, opened on 29 December 2002. It was extended from Xiaogang to Pazhou on 28 June 2003 and further to Wanshengwei a year later. The section between Xiaogang and Wanshengwei was split off to form part of Line 8 during 22–24 September 2010, when operation was paused. The latest extension, from Jiangnanxi to Guangzhou South Railway Station and from Sanyuanli to Jiahewanggang, opened on 25 September 2010 as the whole line resumed operation. The length of the current line is 31.4 km. All stations in Line 2 are underground.[30]

Line 3[edit]

Line 3 is a 67.3 km Y-shaped line connecting Airport South and Tianhe Coach Terminal to Panyu Square. All stations in the line are underground.[31] When the line opened on 26 December 2005, trains operated between Guangzhou East Railway Station and Kecun. Following completion of the Tianhe Coach Terminal–Tiyu Xilu and Kecun–Panyu Square sections, the line was rerouted on 30 December 2006 to offer transfer-free connections between Panyu Square and Tianhe Coach Terminal via Tiyu Xilu. The Guangzhou East Railway Station–Tiyu Xilu section became a shuttle until it was extended northwards to Airport South on 30 October 2010. In official distinctions, the main route consists of the entire Airport South–Panyu Square section, while the Tianhe Coach Terminal–Tiyu Xilu section is a spur line.[32] The spur line will be split off in the long term to form part of Line 10.[33] The line interchanges with Line 1 at Tiyu Xilu and Guangzhou East Railway Station, Line 5 at Zhujiang New Town, and Line 8 at Kecun. Line 3 had been notorious for its crowding since it opened, for it ran three-car trains. That was partly relieved when all three-car trains started operating as six-car ones, connected in sets of two, on 28 April 2010.[34]

Haibang Station of Line 4

Line 4[edit]

Line 4 is a north-south line running parallel to Line 2 along the east of the city. It is 43.7 km long with 16 stations. The section of the line from Huangcun to Xinzao are built at underground, while that from Xinzao to Jinzhou are built at elevated track.[35][36] It was the first metro line in mainland China to use linear motor trains.[37] The line interchanges with Line 5 at Chebeinan, and Line 8 at Wanshengwei. Its first section, from Wanshengwei to Xinzao, opened on 26 December 2005. Southwards, it was extended from Xinzao to Huangge on 30 December 2006 and further to Jinzhou on 28 June 2007. Northwards, it was extended to Chebeinan on 28 December 2009. Its latest extension, from Chebeinan to Huangcun, opened on 25 September 2010. A 12.6 km extension in Nansha District has been approved with six underground stations and will interchange with the planned Line 15.[38]

Xicun Station of Line 5

Line 5[edit]

The 31.9 km long Line 5 starts at Jiaokou and runs to Wenchong. It entered operation on 28 December 2009. All stations in the line except Jiaokou and Tanwei are underground. Until Line 8 was split off from Line 2, it was the only line that interchanged with all other lines. Currently it interchanges with Line 1 at Yangji, Line 2 at Guangzhou Railway Station, Line 3 at Zhujiang New Town, and Line 4 at Chebeinan. Similarly to Line 4, Line 5 also uses linear motor trains.

Line 6[edit]

The first stage of Line 6, a 24.5 km long phase one runs from Xunfenggang to Changban with 22 stations. It began service on 28 December 2013 and contains three elevated stations along the route. Construction of a 10-station, 17.6 km long extension to Xiangxue from Changban is currently underway and is expected to enter revenue service in 2015. Interchange is provided with Line 1 Huangsha and Dongshankou, with Line 2 at Haizhu Square, with Line 3 at Yantang and Tianhe Coach Terminal, with Line 5 at Tanwei and Ouzhuang. Cultural Park will also become an interchange station when the north extension of Line 8 opens. The line runs four-car trains, but stations of the east extension starting with South China Botanical Garden will be constructed with a provision to accommodate six-car trains in preparation for a route split in the future.[39]

Sun Yat-sen University Station of Line 8 while still operating as part of Line 2

Line 8[edit]

The first section of Line 8, from Xiaogang to Wanshengwei, opened in 2002 and ran as part of Line 2 until the extension to the line was completed in September 2010. Line 8 runs from Fenghuang Xincun to Wanshengwei. The section from Changgang to Wanshengwei opened on 25 September 2010 when the split-off from Line 2 was complete. The section west of Changgang did not open until 3 November 2010 due to disputes over the environmental impact of the cooling facilities at Shayuan.[40][41] Interchange stations along the line are Changgang with Line 2, Kecun with Line 3, and Wanshengwei with Line 4. While currently the line is entirely contained in Haizhu District to the south of the Pearl River, the north extension presently under construction will cross the river northwards to interchange with Line 6 at Cultural Park and reach Baiyun Lake.

Jihua Park Station of Guangfo Line

Guangfo Line[edit]

Main article: Guangfo Metro
See also: FMetro

The Guangzhou–Foshan Section of Pearl River Delta Region Intercity Rapid Transit (Chinese: 珠江三角洲地区城际快速轨道交通广州至佛山段) is an intercity metro line that connects Guangzhou and Foshan. It is commonly known as Guangfo Metro and Guangfo Line of Guangzhou Metro. The section within Foshan also doubles as Line 1 of FMetro (Foshan Metro). The line is operated by Guangdong Guangfo Inter-City Co., Ltd., a subsidiary co-owned by Guangzhou Metro (51%) and Foshan Metro (49%).[42][43] Its first section, from Xilang to Kuiqi Lu in Foshan, started operation on 3 November 2010 with 21 km of tracks and 14 stations.[13][41] Eleven of the stations are located in Foshan, while the other three are in Guangzhou.[41] Relocation disputes at Lijiao were not resolved until October 2013 and have delayed completion of the extension from Xilang to Lijiao till December 2015.[44] When the line is completed, it will have 32.2 km of tracks and 21 stations, of which 17.4 km of tracks and 10 stations will be located in Guangzhou.[43] The line will interchange with Line 1 at Xilang, Line 2 at Nanzhou, Line 3 at Lijiao, and Line 8 at Shayuan. It will run four-car trains.[43] All its stations are underground.[45]

Zhujiang New Town APM Line[edit]

The Automated People Mover System of Zhujiang New Town Core District Municipal Traffic Project (Chinese: 珠江新城核心区市政交通项目旅客自动输送系统)[46] is an underground automated people mover that serves the central business district of Zhujiang New Town. It is commonly known as Zhujiang New Town Automated People Mover System or the APM for short. At a length of 3.9 km, it connects Linhexi and Canton Tower with nine stations on the line.[47] Operation started on 8 November 2010 with Canton Tower Station named Chigang Pagoda Station until December 2013.[48] The stations of Haixinsha and Chigang Pagoda remained closed during the 2010 Asian Games. Chigang Pagoda Station opened on 28 November 2010, one day after the Asian Games ended;[49][50] Haixinsha Station remained unopened until 24 February 2011.[51] There is no direct platform-to-platform connection between the APM and Line 3 albeit they share the stations of Linhexi and Canton Tower.[49] Transfer passengers need to exit and reenter with a new ticket. The APM runs two-car rubber-wheeled driverless trains.[49]

Future expansion[edit]

Line 7[edit]

The first phase of Line 7 is under construction and will run from Guangzhou South Railway Station to Higher Education Mega Center South in Panyu District over the course of 18.6 km when completed. Six-car trains will be used. All nine stations are underground. The line will interchange with Line 2 at Guangzhou South Railway Station and Shibi, Line 3 at Hanxi Changlong, and Line 4 at Higher Education Mega Center South.[52] The planned second phase will extend the line by 11.3 km and four more stations to reach north of the Pearl River and provide interchanges with Line 5 at Dashadong, the planned east extension of Line 8 at Changzhou and Line 13 at Fengle Lu. Line 7 is expected to be operational from 2015.[53]

Line 9[edit]

The 20.1 km long Line 9 serves Huadu District. It will start at Fei'eling and end at Gaozeng, where it will interchange with Line 3. All stations are underground. The line will run six-car trains. In the long term, after the Tianhe Coach Terminal–Tiyu Xilu spur line of Line 3 is split off to form part of Line 10, it will be connected into Line 3 using the reserved switches at Gaozeng and become a new spur line. Line 9 is expected to be operational from 2015.[54]

Line 13[edit]

Currently under construction, Line 13 is the first metro line in Guangzhou to be built to run eight-car trains. The 27.03 km first phase from Yuzhu to Xiangjingling will connect Zengcheng into Guangzhou's metro network. Upon opening, it will only interchange with Line 5 at Yuzhu, but future interchange stations have been planned at Xiayuan (east extension of Line 5), Fengle Lu (second phase of Line 7) and Xintang (Line 16 and Suiguanshen Intercity Railway).[55] A second phase to the west is planned for the long term and will cut through the heartland of urban Guangzhou to reach Chaoyang in the vicinity of Guangzhou–Foshan border. Line 13 is expected to open in 2016.

Line 21[edit]

The 60.9 km long Line 21 connects Yuancun in Tianhe District and Zengcheng Square in Zengcheng with six-car trains. It has 38.5 km of underground tracks, 16.4 km of elevated tracks and 6 km of tracks in mountain tunnels.[56] The section from Yuancun to Tianhe Park is intended as part of Line 11 and constructed to accommodate the eight-car trains of the latter. When construction of Line 1 completes, the section will be spliced into Line 11, making Tianhe Park the west end of Line 21.[57] Interchange will be available at Yuancun (Line 5), Tianhe Park (Line 11 and second phase of Line 13), Huangcun (Line 4), Grand World Scenic Park (Line 19), Xiangang (second phase of Line 6), Zhenlong (Knowledge City Line and Suiguanshen Intercity Railway) and Zengcheng Square (Line 16).[56]

Summary of future lines[edit]

Future Guangzhou Metro lines[15][a]
Line Phase/​extension Terminals Length
in km
Stations
Lines under construction
Line 4[38] South Jinzhou Nansha Ferry Terminal 12.6 6
Line 6[58] 2nd Changban Xiangxue 17.4 10
Line 7[52] 1st Guangzhou South Railway Station Higher Education Mega Center South 18.6 9
Line 8 Fenghuang Xincun Cultural Park 1.8 2
North[59] Cultural Park Baiyun Lake 16.1 13
Line 9[58] 1st Fei'eling Gaozeng 20.1 10
Line 13[60][61] 1st Yuzhu Xiangjingling 27.0 11
Line 21[56] Yuancun Zengcheng Square 60.9 20
Line 14[62] 1st Jiahewanggang Jiekou 51.2 13
Guangfo Xilang Lijiao 11.4 7
Knowledge City[62] Xinhe Zhenlong 21.6 7
Approved lines
Line 11[62] Guangzhou Railway Station–​Guangzhou East Railway Station–​Pazhou loop line 42.4 32
Proposed lines
Line 3[53] East Panyu Square Haibang 9.4 4
Line 5[33] East Wenchong Huangpu Ferry Terminal 9.8 5
Line 6[33] East Xiangxue Yonghe 6.9 2
Line 7[53] 2nd Higher Education Mega Center South Dashadong 11.3 4
Line 8[53] East Wanshengwei Guangzhou Automobile Group Complex 13.2 6
Line 10[33][b] Dongsha Tiyu Xilu 12.2 10
Line 12[33] Chatou Higher Education Mega Center South 30.1 24
Line 13[63] 2nd Huanggang Yuzhu 31.5
Line 14[33] Guangzhou Railway Station Jiahewanggang
Jiekou Yangshenggu
Line 15[63] Xiaonansha Island–Lingshan–Hengli–Wangqingsha loop line 30.5 15
Line 16[33] Xintang Licheng 31.7 8
Line 17[63] Zini Lianhua Mountain 25.7 11
Line 18[63] Shiqiao Lianhua Mountain 31.3 15
Line 19[63] Suiyan Lu Cencun 29.9 21
Line 20[33] Guangzhou South Railway Station Pazhou 17.5 3
  1. ^ All construction plans are subject to approval by national authorities. A line is considered "approved" in this table if the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has greenlighted establishment of its construction project. For actual construction to start, the project must obtain follow-up approvals including the NDRC's endorsement of its feasibility study. The construction plan may not stabilise until construction starts. For this reason, discrepancies exist among certain references due to evolution of construction plans and inaccuracies in news reports. This table reflects information deemed the most credible. In general, more recent reports take priority over older ones.
  2. ^ The Tiyu Xilu–Tianhe Coach Terminal section currently operates as part of Line 3.

Guangzhou–Foshan metro connections[edit]

Guangzhou Metro lines to connect with FMetro lines[33]
# Guangzhou Metro line FMetro line Status
1 1 1 In operation
2 7 2 Planned
3 5 5 Planned
4 10 6 Planned
5 17 7 Planned
6 Extension of Line 12, Guangzhou Metro from Chatou to Lishui Planned
7 Extension of Line 19, Guangzhou Metro to Suiyan Lu Planned

Fares and tickets[edit]

Fares[edit]

Fares of Guangzhou Metro currently range from ¥2 (a couple of stations) to ¥14 (the longest journeys). A journey shorter than 4 km costs ¥2; ¥1 is charged for every 4 km after 4 km, every 6 km after 12 km, and every 8 km after 24 km.[64] Between 30 October 2010 and 30 October 2011, an additional, undiscountable ¥5 fee was charged for any journey to or from Airport South. Collection of such a fee was approved for one year in July 2010 and expired without extension.[65][66] The fare for the longest possible journey to the exiting station will be charged if a journey exceeds four hours. Passengers may carry luggage below weight and size limits at no cost or a ¥2 surcharge.[67]

Current ticket types[edit]

Single journey ticket[edit]

Guangzhou Metro single journey ticket

Single journey tickets can be bought at a kiosk at every station or at the automatic ticket vending machines. The ticket itself is a contactless radio-frequency plastic token. The user has to tap it on the sensor on the ticket barrier when entering and insert it into a slot at the exit gate where the token is reclaimed. Full base fares are charged for single journey tickets for individuals. Passengers travelling in groups of 30 or larger can enjoy a 10% discount.[68]

Yang Cheng Tong and Lingnan Pass[edit]

Yang Cheng Tong (Chinese: 羊城通; literally: "Ram City Pass") is a contactless smartcard which can be used on the metro and most other forms of public transport in Guangzhou.

Yang Cheng Tong offers discounts for rides on buses and the metro. Within each month, bus and metro rides combined, a 5% discount is available for the first 15 journeys and a 40% discount for all journeys beyond. Full-time students enrolled in primary, secondary, and vocational schools can apply for student passes, which allow them bus and metro rides at half price. Senior citizens can also obtain special passes. Half price is charged for seniors aged 60–64. Seniors aged 65 and above as well as people with major disabilities ride free of charge.[68][69]

Yang Cheng Tong was rebranded in November 2010 as a type of Lingnan Pass (Chinese: 岭南通), a new transport card that is valid in multiple cities across the Pearl River Delta.[70] Lingnan Pass cards issued in Guangzhou are named Lingnan Pass·Yang Cheng Tong. Existing cards were automatically upgraded and need not be replaced.[71]

Day pass[edit]

Art design of Guangzhou Metro day passes

Guangzhou Metro introduced day passes on 1 January 2013. A day pass holder can travel an unlimited number of times in the metro system during a limited period of validity starting from the first use. Two variants are currently available:

  • One-day pass: ¥20 each and valid for 24 hours
  • Three-day pass: ¥50 each and valid for 72 hours

Day passes are not rechargeable. They can be fully refunded until the first use, at which time they become nonrefundable. Used passes are not reclaimed, although they can be voluntarily recycled at drop boxes in the stations.

The passes are decorated with illustrations of the Cantonese language and cuisine to promote the local culture. The art design was favored by over 70% of those who responded to public opinion surveys compared to two other competing designs.[72]

Discontinued ticket types[edit]

Guangzhou Metro discontinued the following ticket types in favor of Yang Cheng Tong.

Stored value ticket[edit]

Guangzhou Metro stored value ticket

Stored value tickets were very similar to Yang Cheng Tong, but were admissible only for metro rides and could not be used to pay bus or taxi fares.

Monthly pass[edit]

Monthly passes were introduced on 1 November 2008 and abolished on 1 May 2010.[73][74] There were three types of monthly pass:

  • ¥55 monthly pass for 20 single journeys
  • ¥88 monthly pass for 35 single journeys
  • ¥115 monthly pass for 50 single journeys

Each journey could travel from one station to any other station regardless of distance. A monthly pass was valid within a calendar month, not the one-month period from the first day it was used. Unused journeys in a month could not be rolled over to a pass for the following month.

Student pass and senior citizen pass[edit]

Both were issued by the metro company and used on metro only, allowing the holders to travel free or at half price.

Power supply[edit]

All Guangzhou Metro lines in operation except the APM are powered by 1,500 V DC. For power transmission, Lines 1, 2, 3 and 8 as well as Guangfo Line use overhead lines, while Lines 4 and 5 use third rails. Future lines to be built in the short term, including Lines 6, 7, 9 and 13 will also run on 1,500 V DC. All those lines will use overhead lines except for Line 6, which will use third rails.[6][7] In contrast to the heavy-rail lines, the light-rail APM runs on 600 V AC supplied by third rails.[6]

Controversies[edit]

Free rides for relatives of metro employees[edit]

Starting from 1997, Guangzhou Metro implemented a policy that allowed free rides for, in addition to its employees, their relatives. The policy was exposed to the public after its validity was questioned at a hearing on metro fares in December 2005.[75] At first, it was reported that up to three lineal kins of each metro employee were allowed free access to the metro. Based on Guangzhou Metro having about 6,000 employees at the time, participants of the hearing estimated that up to 18,000 relatives of metro employees could ride free at an approximate cost of ¥13 million per year.[75][76]

In response to questions on the policy raised at the hearing, Lu Guanglin, then-General Manager of Guangzhou Metro, claimed that relatives of employees with free access would volunteer as security personnel of the metro. He cited counter-terrorism when explaining that the policy was not exclusively an employee benefit but also a safety measure.[76] Guangzhou Metro later clarified that only the spouse and at most one pre-college child under 18 of each employee were allowed free access, limiting the number of such people to about 2,000. Free rides were strictly regulated and tracked, with abuse subject to disciplinary actions. An unnamed metro employee estimated that the actual cost per year was ¥3 million rather than ¥13 million.[75]

Following its publicity, the policy sparked widespread criticism.[75][76] A Nanfang Daily editorial criticised the policy as Guangzhou Metro exploiting public resources to its own interests. It also questioned the competence of relatives of metro employees in counter-terrorism. It further argued that if Guangzhou Metro indeed needed voluntary security personnel, it could have recruited them openly from the public.[77] Such criticism was echoed by hearing participants as well as members of the Municipal People's Congress of Guangzhou.[78] Guangzhou Metro officially abandoned the policy under pressure on 16 December 2005.[75]

Four-car trains of Line 6[edit]

Serving densely populated areas including residential communities in Jinshazhou, the pedestrian street in Beijing Lu and wholesale markets in Shahe with four-car trains, the capacity of Line 6 has long been questioned. The origin of such a design traces back to the planning phase of the line. Believed to have limited attraction to commuters, Line 6 was intended as an auxiliary line with a projected daily ridership of 428000 in 2012 and 507000 in 2019 when the expected opening year was still 2010. Such projections were in line with the daily ridership of Lines 1 and 2 prior to 2004. The daily ridership of Line 1 was predicted to reach 290000 in 1998, however, the actual figures of 1999–2001 plateaued at 172000176000. These data gave ammunition to invited experts' stubborn insistence in four-car trains and even led to Guangzhou being criticized by name as overinflating the capacity of its metro network. Similar preference of small-capacity trains and low-headway operation also influenced the designs of Line 3, 4 and 5. These ideas would soon prove utterly shortsighted when Line 3 opened in 2006 with three-car trains only to be immediately plagued with extreme congestion and forced adoption of six-car trains ahead of schedule.[79]

Years after construction started, the capacity issue of Line 6 drew concentrated but late criticism from local media in July 2009.[80][81][82][83][84] An internal report of Guangzhou Metro in the same month reckoned that using the same six-car trains as Line 3 would increase the capacity of Line 6 by 50%. However, by that time, a change to six-car trains had become unrealistic as it would require modification to stations whose construction had been completed. Land expropriation and residence relocation would pose even greater challenges as evidenced by severe delays in the construction of the stations of Yide Lu and Shahe.[79] In November 2013, mayor Chen Jianhua publicly admitted that planning of the line lacked foresight, and the line would be crowded upon opening. He also promised to ensure that trains of future lines and expansions would have at least six cars.[85]

Quality inspection of Line 3 north extension[edit]

Exposure of quality issue[edit]

On 11 October 2010, news broke that the concrete structures of two connecting passages in the north extension of Line 3 between Jiahewanggang and Longgui had substandard compressive strength. The quality of the two connecting passages was found to be questionable as early as August 2009.[86] But it not was brought to light until a technician who worked for a company that inspected their quality posted scanned copies of the original inspection reports in his blog in August 2010, and the media picked up the story in October 2010.[87]

The connecting passages were intended as connections between two metro tunnels for the maintenance crew and emergency escape corridors for passengers.[88] Their compressive strength was designed to reach 30 MPa. However, the lowest values measured in two inspections were only 21.9 MPa and 25.5 MPa, respectively.[87] Guangzhou Metro and Beijing Chang Cheng Bilfinger Berger Construction Engineering Co., Ltd. (BCBB), contractor of the Jiahewanggang–Longgui section,[88] commissioned two inspection companies to perform a total of three inspections. All three inspections reported results below standard. According to the technician who disclosed the issue and another technician who participated in the first inspection, possible consequences of weaker-than-standard concrete structures included collapse of the passages, blockage of groundwater drains, and even paralysation of the metro tunnels.[86]

Alleged fraud attempts[edit]

According to the two technicians, BCBB rejected a negative inspection report and conspired with their employer company to produce a fraudulent positive report.[86] In response, both the inspection company and BCBB denied their involvement in any fraud attempts.[87] Su Zhenyu, a deputy manager of the Quality and Safety Division of Guangzhou Metro, admitted the quality issue with the connecting passages but maintained the innocence of Guangzhou Metro. According to him, Guangzhou Metro never received the original inspection reports in 2009 and was unaware of the issue until it received them on 30 September 2010. Su blamed the incident on deceit by BCBB and declared the structures safe for train operation.[86] Su's comments were acknowledged by Guangzhou Metro.[87]

Reactions[edit]

According to Su, Guangzhou Metro had launched an investigation into the incident and demanded remedial plans for fortifying the structures from the designer after its experts verified that the quality of the passage did not meet the design standard.[86] In its official response, Guangzhou Metro claimed that it had been monitoring the connecting passages since they were completed in August 2009 and noticed no cracks, deformation or leaks. It also commissioned a re-inspection in September 2010 and obtained results comparable to previous ones. Evaluation by the designer of the connecting passages based on these results recognised their structures as safe. Previously in 2009, the designer also evaluated one of the two connecting passages as safe upon demand of BCBB with the standard for its compressive strength at the lowest permissible value of 25 MPa.[89]

In the wake of widespread media coverage, the Construction Commission of Guangzhou launched an investigation into the incident. The commission invited an independent expert group to inspect the connecting passages. The expert group reaffirmed that despite their quality was indeed below the design standard, the passages were safe for operation and needed not be strengthened or rebuilt. The commission also confirmed that BCBB violated regulations in concealing negative inspection reports from related parties.[90] The cause of weaker-than-standard concrete structures was blamed by deputy mayor Su Zequn on cement being mixed manually instead of using machinery due to space limitation at the construction site.[91]

The scheduled opening of the north extension of Line 3 on 30 October 2010 was eventually unaffected.

Universal free access in November 2010[edit]

In January 2010, then-mayor Zhang Guangning revealed to the media that the local government was considering rewarding residents with an "Asian Games gift package" in acknowledgement of their support for the Games.[92] On 27 September 2010, contents of the gift package were officially announced. Included was universal free access to public transit on 30 workdays in November and December 2010 that would coincide with the schedules of the 2010 Asian Games and Asian Para Games in urban areas excluding the districts of Panyu, Nansha and Huadu and the cities of Zengcheng and Conghua. The measure was intended to compensate for the inconvenience caused by a temporary traffic rule that would ban cars from the streets by the parity of the last digits of their license plates during the Games.[93][94]

The free rides policy prompted unprecedented enthusiasm from local residents on 1 November 2010, the first day it went into effect. The metro system carried 7.80 million rides, doubling the figure of an average day.[95] Ridership of the day exceeded the previous peak of 5.13 million on National Day 1 October 2010 by a significant margin and set a national record.[96] Metro traffic remained intense in the days that followed. The daily ridership record was refreshed twice on 3 and 5 November 2010, reaching 7.844 million; total ridership amounted to 38.77 million over the entire workweek.[97][98] Provisional flow control measures were put into force at all stations, but were utterly inadequate to contain traffic far beyond the design capacity of the metro system.[98] Trains were often crammed, and stations were filled with people queuing in swarms to take a free ride.[99] Guangzhou Metro estimated that when the Asian Games opened, daily ridership would surpass 8 million.[98]

Five days after the free rides policy came into force, local authorities decided to rescind the free public transit offer starting from 8 November 2010 and replace it with a cash subsidy program as they deemed the enormous public response a potential security threat to the Games.[99] Registered households and migrant households with presence in the city longer than half a year would each receive a public transit subsidy of ¥150 in cash; individuals in corporate households would each receive ¥50. Residents could claim the subsidies between 12 January and 31 March 2011.[100] Public transit discount policies that were in effect before November 2010 remained unchanged.[101]

Kangwang Lu sinkhole incident[edit]

Around 16:40 on 28 January 2013, in the immediate neighbourhood of the construction site of the Cultural Park Station of Line 6 and Line 8 on Kangwang Lu (Chinese: 康王路), a sinkhole of approximately 100 m2 in area and 10 m in depth collapsed, consuming several houses and trees.[102] Six collapses occurred within 40 minutes. Two more collapses occurred later at 21:45, when workers were pouring concrete into the sinkhole. Nearby roads were immediately closed for emergency engineering.[103] The affected section of Kangwang Lu remained closed until the Spring Festival holidays and was closed for a second time on 12 February due to discovery of additional risks.[104]

There were no casualties in the incident thanks to the fact that metro construction workers detected geological anomalies 20 minutes before the initial collapse and promptly evacuated the neighbourhood.[103] The sinkhole caused disruptions to electricity, gas and water supplies and drainage pipelines. Preliminary analysis blamed the incident on inaccurate geological drawings used for underground blast operations.[105][106] In total, 412 households, 103 businesses and 69 warehouses were evacuated, and 257 residents were relocated.[107] Guangzhou Metro offered provisional compensations that amounted to ¥50,000 for each collapsed business and ¥2600 for each resident of the collapsed houses among other compensations.[106]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Interchange stations are counted once for each interchanging line per the convention adopted by Guangzhou Metro. Nonoperational stations are not included.
  2. ^ The original text was "一个城市,没有地铁就没有现代化!".[9]
  3. ^ The State Planning Commission has since evolved into the National Development and Reform Commission.
  4. ^ The supplier had been Changchun Adtranz Railway Vehicles, a Sino-German joint venture. Bombardier assumed Adtranz's position after acquiring the latter soon after the deal with Guangzhou Metro was signed.

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