Shanghai’s public transportation system is largely accessible, but will present some challenges for disabled travelers, particularly those in wheelchairs. The Maglev train, which runs from Shanghai-Pudong International Airport into the city limits and is the fastest in the world (18.6 miles in 6 minutes at 430 kmh), is partially accessible. However, you should read the following tips before attempting to ride the train:
- If beginning your journey at the airport, inform a station staff member that you will require a ramp to board the train if you cannot navigate a 4-inch step or if you are in a wheelchair. They will also escort you to the elevator leading to the train platform.
- If you are starting your journey at the train’s city terminus, make contact with the police officer stationed behind the double glass doors to the left of the Maglev station stairway. They will notify the Maglev staff to grant you access to the elevator. Again, inform a station staff member that you will require a ramp to board the train if you cannot navigate a 4-inch step or if you are in a wheelchair.
The Maglev bears a cost of 50 RMB. Passengers can purchase a discounted round trip ticket for 80 RMB, but the return portion must be used within 7 days.
Shanghai’s subway system is wheelchair accessible, with elevators at all stations. Shanghai’s public transportation receives low marks in our accessibility score (see above) due to the fact that elevators can be difficult to locate at the street level. While there are often multiple entrances to a subway station, only one will typically have an elevator. It can take time and energy to locate the elevator, which is not ideal.
Subway station elevators at the street, mezzanine and platform levels may be locked or secured. There will always be a communications intercom, so travelers should push the button and ask to use the lift or elevator. The person responding may not speak English, but they know it is the elevator call button and will send someone. Patience is key, because it may take up to five minutes for a station attendant to appear.
Oftentimes, the elevators bypass fare collection areas, which explains why they are secured. In the experience of many wheelchair users, fares are not collected from the disabled on the subway network. If the attendant does request a fare be paid after using the elevator, rest assured the cost will be less than $2.00 USD.
The city bus system is not wheelchair accessible. Buses often have several steps and no wheelchair ramps or securement areas.