Kunming's subway system, if it can actually be called that, is a topic of much discussion among Spring City residents. The existing three lines, which in all honesty are one very long route and an airport shuttle, only service areas along a slim north-south corridor. Promises have been made regarding a connected east-west line, but those timetables have been discarded. The most recent news surrounding the progress of Metro Line 3 generally comes down to this — please wait patiently.
Work on Metro Line 3 was first announced way back in 2010. It was designed to run for 19.5 kilometers from a terminal stop at Xishan Park Station (西山公园站) to the city's East Bus Station (东部汽车客运站) through a total of 19 stops. It will then connect with the existing but severely truncated Metro Line 6 and Changshui International Airport.
Those details have not changed over the intervening six years. However, the original projected completion date of 2016 has been pushed back months, and the line is now expected to go into operation sometime "in the first half of 2017".
Unsubstantiated internet rumors have blamed delays on the city running out of money to fund the project — which carried an original price tag of 11 billion yuan (US$2.3 billion). Cost overages are no doubt a serious problem, as Kunming media outlets reveal the presence of dense basalt deposits in the path of multiple tunnels routinely hampered progress.
Subterranean passages have now been completed along Line 3, and full-scale construction of all stations and their adjoining tracks are reportedly underway. Such work encompassed "Phase I" of the project. The second phase includes finishing work on 15 under-construction stops located between Shizui Station (石咀站) on the northwest shore of Dianchi Lake, running through downtown Kunming, and ending at the aforementioned bus station. "Phase 3" is a trial and testing period before regular service for the public begins.
When complete, Metro Line 3 will not only connect to line 6, but also link up with Lines 1 and 2 at Dongfeng Square Station (东风广场站). In the not-to-distant future, according to an optimistic article first posted on Yunnan Net, Line 3 will also feature transfers to lines 4 and 5. Commuters should probably expect the wait to last awhile, as survey teams only began "mapping and tentative exploration" of the Line 5 route last week.