High-tech transport

By Chen Shasha Source:Global Times Published: 2018/1/28 18:08:39 Last Updated: 2018/1/29 10:18:38

Shanghai launches QR code payment turnstiles at metro stations

Shanghai now allows subway passengers to make QR code payments at its metro stations. Starting January 20, anyone can pass right through the turnstiles at these stations simply by scanning a QR code generated by the official "Metro Dahuhui" app for their smartphones.

Currently, two payment methods, Alipay and China UnionPay, are available on the app. Passengers can pass through the turnstiles without an internet connection or balance in their accounts, as the fee can be deducted after a trip.

According to local transport authorities, as of 12 noon Thursday, passenger flow using the app to get into stations reached 3.67 million, accounting for 17 percent of all inbound flow.

Jin Tao, director of the information management center of Shanghai Shentong Metro Group, told the Global Times that "People's Square Station and Jing'an Temple Station have been most popular with the app users."

However, many residents might need some time to get used to the new technology. As more and more commuters try to use the app, several stations have experienced congestion at the turnstiles.

"When I used the app the first time, I tried several times but failed. Finally I just used my old prepaid card instead," local resident Xu Wen told the Global Times. He found that, as some passengers are still not familiar with the new app functions, there have been long queues during rush hours.

Another passenger surnamed Ji told the Global Times that she started using the app right after it was launched. "Sometimes it is inconvenient to switch between the two payment methods," she said, adding that the new technology is more convenient than a prepaid card because she won't have to manually recharge the card with station attendants any more.

Getting used to tech

Another passenger, surnamed Jiang, worries that the app is too complicated for elderly people. She also hopes that there will be more payment methods such as WeChat available in the future.

Volunteers have been dispatched to metro stations to guide passengers trying to use the new app. There are also notices at the stations and on the turnstiles to remind people to turn on their Bluetooth and hold their phones five centimeters away from the machine so that it can read the QR code correctly.

A volunteer surnamed Zhang told the Global Times that some passengers hold their phones too close or too far from the machine or forget to turn on their Bluetooth. "This happens most," she said. "Sometimes if Bluetooth doesn't work, passengers need to turn it off and on again."

Currently, QR scanning is available on all turnstiles in every station along Line 17 and the east extension of Line 9. Other stations are equipped with two such turnstiles at each entrance and exit.

Jin said that he expects every station to be fully transformed within the year to improve efficiency and passenger experience.

Inaccessible for foreigners

According to Zhang, a few curious foreigners have consulted her about the new app, but presently no foreigners can access it.

"I read some articles on Facebook talking about it," ­­

Camille Hu from France said, adding that it would be much more convenient than the traditional card. "And it is very cool when you see people using their smartphones."

Jin explained to the Global Times that, according to related regulations, identity authentication and security identification must be completed before using the app, which is easy for anyone with a Chinese ID.

"We are trying to open identity authentication and payment binding for expats within the first half of this year," he said.

The group is also trying to integrate more payment methods. "What we are promoting is a full payment channel platform. Therefore, we will include frequently used payment methods and provide more choices for our passengers," Jin said.

According to Jin, the app is actually a "life guidance" platform that can be used for food, entertainment and shopping in addition to commuting. Jin also hopes the platform will be used on buses and other public transportation, and eventually cover other cities in the Yangtze River Delta.

An employee introduces the app to local passengers on January 20 at a metro station. Photo: VCG


A man scanning at an entrance Photo: VCG


Scanning machine with tips Photo: VCG



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