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Metro Line 1 begins passenger trial period

By in News on

After prolonged delays, the southern section of Kunming's Metro Line 1 finally went into operation on May 20. What was billed by local media as an "early trial run", saw only 8,168 paying passengers.

Low traffic may have been the result of a general lack of publicity regarding the metro opening. It may also be due to the new section of track passing through Chenggong New District (呈贡新区), which is still relatively unpopulated despite several universities and government bureaus relocating there over the past three years.

Metro Line 1 begins at University City Station (大学城站) in the city's southern outskirts and currently ends at Xiaodong Village Station (晓东村站) near the now defunct Wujiaba Airport. From beginning to end the journey covers 22 kilometers and takes 34 minutes.

Although initial service through the metro's 12 stops was reportedly free of delays, there were some problems. Passengers told reporters they had difficulty with automated ticket dispensers not correctly recognizing the denominations of bills used for payment. Another concern was that train doors only open for 40 seconds at each stop, making it difficult for children and the elderly to board or detrain easily.

Metro authorities said these were exactly the sorts of kinks the trial period was instituted to identify and fix before approaching the line's estimated maximum capacity of 168,000 people per day.

Trains along Line 1 are currently running daily from 7am until 7pm. There have been no reports regarding whether these slightly inconvenient hours will be lengthened when the trial period concludes at the end of this year.

A Metro official surnamed Ma () said the completion date of the northern portion of Line 1 is set for early next year. When finished it will extend the currently operating southern section an additional 20 kilometers through downtown Kunming, ending at the North Bus Station.

Top image: Xinhua
Map: Matthew Hartzell

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40 seconds to get in and out? Its probably not enough time because everyone tries to get in and out at the same time, just like most subways on the Chinese mainland... something tells me if passengers obeyed the "exit to the sides" and "let everyone get off before you get on" rules, 40 seconds would be plenty of time. Instead there will be the middle-older women/men pushing past the people getting off to ensure they can get on.... meanwhile causing a massive deadlock bottleneck of passengers at the entrances/exits.

Not to mention the pickpockets that push you to get your wallet.

From nowhere to the middle of nowhere.

40 seconds is enough. There will be some supervisor maintain the order of "exit to the sides, board from the centre" just like the line6(airport). That creates job.

They took the same dispositions every time new subway lines opened in Beijing. After two months, the staff would only be present at peak time. As soon as the staff leaves, it's back to anarchy. And after some time, they would just disappear.

Yes, it does go to nowhere, which would be useless for those of us who live on the line!

So what buses go to Xiaodong Village? Bus # 67?

I live in Chenggong and need to take the bus to Kunming on the weekends to work. So I gotta take bus 170 and stop at the bust terminal Ju Hua Cun to take yet another bus to work.

This sunday I was standing at the bus stop waiting for my usual 10:30 bus. and it jut would't come, after waiting for half an hour and getting desperate. Some kind chinese then stopped his car and told me that the morning bus service was canceled and that I should take the subway!

Guess what, after taking the subway and paying 4 damned kuai, I stopped halfway between Chenggong and Ju Hua Cun and guess which bus I had to take? Yes 170, the same bus take I used to take and that took me directly to from Chenggong to Ju Hua Cun for 2 kuai...

So they force you to take the subway, spend double the money, just to make you have to take the same bus you used to take again later because

and the subway stops halfway your route.

Add that to the fact I need to take another three buses you got Chaos, by the way, you'll have a surprise whenever you reach the last stop of you subway route, get out to take a bus and marvel at the amount of people waiting at the bus stop. You're screwed...

Ah, just in time to show off for the Expo. We are a respectable city with a working Metro! Speaking of which, I took the airport line a few weeks ago, and there was hardly anyone riding it. It was definitely a stark contrast to the multitude of people fighting for seats when it first opened, which makes me wonder how is the city going to get any of its investment money back when the masses are aren't riding the newly built Metro(s)?

@blueice: You raise a good question. If the subways in China's huge east coast cities can't make money, how exactly can they in second and third tier cities. A good rundown here:

Does anyone know when more useful lines will be operational?

Does anyone know when more useful lines will be operational?

I know! December 2012!


By the sounds of it, the government doesn't even know. And now they don't even know if they can pay for it, the answer could be.... never?

There doesn't seem like there is much to do to finish line 1 and have full North/South line done except build the stations and set up the rail line. I would be surprised if that doesn't open by mid next year. But I am constantly surprised by this subway build so anything is possible!

Think of the subway as a money train.

As long as there is something to tear down and build or rebuild, two things are going on. First, GDP goes up and as a tool for rating government officials you just can't beat impressive, never ending, visible projects adding jobs and boosting GDP.

Second, tearing down and building is where the money is. There is a lot of opportunity to make and pass money around. When you figure in what can be skimmed by using substandard materials then making more money to do it again. well, why would anyone want to stop?

Beijing Lu is a goldmine. Seems to me that there was a lot of repaving done before the Metro project started. Then just as the Metro blue walls came down beautification began. Beautification is pretty near complete, lots of trees have been cut down, but now holes, square red puddles where there were trees, and trenches across street and walk ways make walking muddy and hazardous.

Did you notice the tremendous improvement in the blue walls? No longer blue metal sheets attached to stakes, now, a cement footing is topped with aluminum framed blue composite panels. Reusable? Nope. Salvaged for sure but clearly intended for one time use.

I call that GDP enhancing "innovation."

So is it officially running now? Has anyone here tried it?

They were waiting until you moved to open the bit up BJ Lu.

Anyone know what you do once you get off at XiaoDong Village? Is there a bus terminal or bus stop to get a bus into town? If so, which ones?

Haha. It's their loss!

It is nice to look back at old articles and see how far we have moved forward. It is great to live in China.

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