– written by Olivia Hall for the KCIS Survival Guide. This was given to all new teachers coming to the Kang Chiao International School in Huaqiao.

A hub in its early stages of development, Huaqiao boasts wide avenues (well, Lu Di Da Dou) hinting at the possibility of flowing traffic at some point in the future. Despite technically being part of Kunshan City in the Jiangsu province, our connection to central Shanghai via the line 11 metro makes us feel a little more connected to the rest of the world. The metro isn’t our only transportation connection though, as there are community buses to Shanghai, and buses taking us to high speed railway station. And, once you get your own set of wheels, you’ll be away!

Getting around doesn’t need to be difficult but we have to admit it can be dangerous! Since arriving in Huaqiao, I’ve encountered all sorts when it comes to transportation. I’ve seen an old woman yelling at young man during the aftermath of a crash between a cycle rickshaw and an e-bike. I’ve encountered youth holding out real estate flyers determinedly as construction trucks whiz by on the highway. I’ve even been involved in a crash myself, when the bus I was on collided at low speed with a car in heavy traffic. In a few short months all of the staff at KCIS have similar stories to share.

This section aims to provide you with the tools and skills to get around safely in Huaqiao:

Bus/Metro:

The bus and metro are probably your most accessible forms of transport as you read this! Hopefully you’ll be able to snag yourself the convenience of a scooter or bicycle in the new few weeks, but for now squeezing in with every man and his dog is really your only option!

A Shanghai Public Transport Card is your best option for getting around. You can pick one up at any metro station.

The card will cost you 20 RMB and can then be loaded with any amount to be used for future adventures. Scan the card as you enter the bus (1 RMB) or metro station (3-10 RMB).

To exit the metro, scan the card again. You can view you remaining balance at this point and check what the journey cost you.

For important bus routes and line 11 stops scroll down.

Scooter:

Electric scooters are all the rage in China! Seemingly, they have enough room for a whole family and it’s not uncommon to see them used to transport anything from live chickens to washing machines.

Prices range from 1000 – 5000 RMB, if you’re willing to spend more you won’t regret it as a higher voltage (38v/48v/64v) and a larger bike will give you a faster and smoother ride! Also, the battery on some of the smaller bikes is easily removed which has resulted in them being stolen. Your bike should come with a rain poncho, helmet, lock and charger if you buy new but you can also find used scooters if you shop around. A three-wheel cart is also another great inexpensive option. Should you need any upgrades, tire replacements, or help with your bike the shops are usually quite efficient.

A few scooter etiquette tips:

  • Don’t unplug anyone else’s scooter unless you know for a fact that their scooter has been fully charged. If you need a charge, get to school before 7 AM to snag a spot.
  • Don’t bring a multi plug… the power strip can’t handle it!
  • Don’t park your scooter or bicycle in front of the power strips if you aren’t using them.
  • Always ride on the correct side of the road, even though you see everyone else doing as they please – foreigners stand out from the crowd here! Keep in mind that you’re a staff member at KCIS and everyone knows it!

Bicycle:

Bicycle is an incredibly easy way to get around. There are plenty of places to purchase a bike depending on your need and budget.

E-mart: Cheap single speed commuter bikes for as low as 250 RMB. Some even come with a basket!

Giant: A range of road, mountain and commuter bicycles with Shimano gears. The starting rate is 1,300 RMB with some room for negotiation. You can find the store on the left side if you follow Huayang Rd from Lu Di Da Dao past the post office and over the bridge (Google maps is wrong!).

Merrida: Offers similar options to Giant at a similar price. There are two stores: one behind McDonald’s along the river front, near the bridge, and the other in Huaqiao township on Huaxi Rd close to Hua’an Rd. Take Bus 100 and get off in the center of Huaqiao when you turn onto Guangming Rd. Walk from there. Google maps will help you find your way onto Huaxi Rd. This shop is closer to the Giant shop if you’re hoping to do a convenient comparison of bikes.

Decathlon: Provides middle of the range options starting at round 500 RMB. You can even purchase a fold away bike! From the school head north along Jishan Rd, past Guangming Rd. Turn left onto Huaji Rd and look to the left for the large distribution center. Take Bus 101 and keep your eyes peeled to the left.

Not too many taxi drivers speak English so our best advice is to have the address written in Chinese or make sure you know how to pronounce key locations such as E-mart (E-mar-ta). Most of the drivers around the area know Kang Chiao and will get you to the school for 16 RMB on the meter or 20 RMB in a tuk tuk from E-mart. Using Uber is another option if you’re willing to work through setting up the APP in Chinese. Our specialists can help (give them chocolate!!)

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