Which City Has the Longest Metro System?

Shanghai Metro trains.
Shanghai Metro trains.

The Shanghai Metro serves the Chinese city of Shanghai and makes up part of the city’s rapid transport system, along with the Zhangjiang Tram and the Shanghai Maglev Train. The Shanghai Metro is not only the longest transit system in the world, but it also has the second highest number of annual riders in the world, as it carries more than 3.4 billion commuters each year. The average daily ridership of the Shanghai Metro stands at over 10 million, which is one of the highest in the world. The record for the highest number of daily riders was set at 11.867 million in April 2017.


The Shanghai Metro is made up of 387 stations, which is the second highest number of metro stations in the world. The metro system has a total of 15 lines, which are labeled numerically and color-coded for easy identification. The Shanghai Metro is different than many of the world’s metro systems as each of the 15 lines have individual tracks and platforms, except Lines 3 and 4, which share the Baoshan Road Station-Hongqiao Road track. The entire system runs on standard-gauge track and is powered by overhead electricity lines (1500V DC).


The Shanghai Metro's Line 1, which connects Xujiahui and Jinjiang Park, opened on May 28th, 1993. The line was later extended to Xinzhuang in December 1996. Operations on Line 2 began in September 1999, running between Longyang Road and Zhongshan Park. Line 3 opened in December 2000, coinciding with the eastern extension of Line 2. Line 5, which connects the Minhang Development Zone with Xinzhuang, opened in November 2003. Line 4, which was delayed due to an accident, opened in December 2005. Three new lines opened in December 2007: Line 6, Line 8 and Line 9, as well as the extension of Line 1. The section of Line 7 connecting Huamu Road and Shanghai University commenced operations in December 2009. Lines 10, 11 and 13 opened in 2010, and Line 2 was expanded. The opening of Line 10 in April 2010 made Shanghai Metro the longest transit system in the world. Lines 16 Line 17 began operating in December 2014 and December 2017, respectively.


The Shanghai Metro operates between 5 AM and 11 PM each day.The metro system is not only focused on inter-city connections, but also connects Shanghai to the city of Kunshan through Line 11, making it China’s second metro system to offer inter-city transit. Plans are underway to connect the Shanghai Metro with the city of Suzhou, a project expected to be completed by 2023. The metro system is managed and operated by the Shanghai Shentong Metro Group, but is owned by the local government. Signage and train displays are provided in English and Simplified Chinese languages, while announcements are made in both Mandarin and English.


More in World Facts