It's 9:00 on Saturday night and you and a friend just finished dinner in the Beichen area. You have a date all the way down on Guangfu Lu in the south of the city in half an hour. The buses are filled. So are the cabs.
No need to panic - simply head underground, give a machine three kuai and then hop on the Kunming metro. Twelve stops later, you arrive at the rendezvous point, right on time. A text message arrives: "stuck in traffic, there in half an hour".
It's difficult to imagine covering large areas of the city in short amounts of time during peak traffic hours, but according to city officials, this will be possible in less than three years.
Last Thursday, Kunming Deputy Mayor He Bo (何波) announced at a press conference that a test section of Kunming's metro track is finished and construction is set to begin soon on Lines 1, 2, 3 and 6 with the first two lines operational by early 2013.
The first phase of the metro to receive passengers will be comprised of the southern section of Line 1 between downtown Kunming and Chenggong and the northern section of Line 2, which connects northern and southern Kunming.
Traffic on major streets including Beijing Lu and Chuncheng Lu will be disrupted while tunnels and stations are built in a downtown that is already short on free space.
In densely populated downtown areas the metro will run underground, with elevated rail used in suburban areas. The entire six-line metro system is scheduled for completion by 2018, at which point officials estimate it will serve up to 3.7 million trips per day.
Here is a tentative list of the lines and stations:
Line 1: Xichang Lu to Kunming Radio and Television University, Chenggong
Xichang Lu (Line 3 interchange), Xiba (Line 5 interchange), Luosiwan, Huancheng Nan Lu (Line 2 interchange), Kunming Train Station (Line 2 interchange), Kunming International Convention and Exhibition Center, South Third Ring Road, Wujiaba, Century City, Guandu, Tiyucheng, Wula Cun, Chenggong (Line 1 interchange), Chenggong North, Executive Center, Central Train Station (Line 4 interchange), University City, Kunming Radio and Television University
Line 2: Kunming North Bus Station to Fubao
Kunming North Local Bus Station, Longtou Jie, Yangchang Cun, Jin'an Residential Area, Beichen, Jinxing, Kunming North Train Station (Interchanges with Lines 4 and 5), Yuantong Lu, Panlong, Dongfeng Plaza (Line 3 interchange), Tangzi Xiang, Huancheng Nan Lu (Line 1 interchange), Kunming Train Station (Line 1 interchange), Nanba Lu, Rixin Residential Area, Shidaifenghua Residential Area, Guangfu Lu, Liujia, Lijia Cun, Fubao
Line 3: Shizui to East Bus Station
Shizui, Majie, Mianshan, Xiyuan, Jinhuapu, Kunming Municipal Gymnasium, Xichang Lu (Line 1 interchange), Art Theater (Line 5 interchange), Nanping Jie, Dongfeng Plaza (Line 1 interchange), Provincial Stadium, Dashuying (Line 4 interchange), Jinmashan, Jinsha Residential Area, Taiping Cun, East Bus Station (Line 6 interchange)
Line 4: Dapuji to Bailongtan
Dapuji, Chenjiaying, Datangzi, Huangtu Po, Jinxiushan Zhuang, Bainishan, Xiaocaiyuan, Kunming North Train Station (Interchanges with Lines 2 and 5), Donghua, Dashuying (Line 3 interchange), Juhua East (Line 6 interchange), Kunming East Train Station, Economic Development Zone, Niujie Zhuang, Xiaoxi Cun, Chenggong (Line 1 interchange), Dounan, Chenggong South, Paomashan, Sports Center, Central Train Station (Line 1 interchange), Bailongtan
Line 5: Expo Gardens to Dianchi Tourism Resort Area
Expo Gardens, Bailongsi, Shizha, Bailong Lu, Kunming North Train Station (Interchanges with Lines 1 and 4), Yuanxi Lu, Green Lake Park, Art Theater (Line 3 interchange), Xiba (Line 1 interchange),
Wuhua Gymnasium, Youth Palace, Zhenghe Residential Area, Daba, Dianchi Tourism Resort Area
Line 6: Wujiaba to Kunming Xiaoshao International Airport
Wujiaba (Line 1 interchange), Juhua East (Line 4 interchange), East Bus Station (Line 3 interchange), Kunming Xiaoshao International Airport