A little blog on our Shanghai buying office and daily life for our overseas staff. This time on our commute…..and going local.
If you travel around China you will see a great number of gas-powered as well as battery-powered scooters and bikes. Few of them have license plates and vanity plates have not really caught on yet.
You don’t have to be Chinese to ride a bike or a scooter but the road system certainly took a bit of getting used to for our foreign staff in China who were used to the more sedate and orderly pace in Europe or USA (mostly driving on right side). Here Priority often just goes to the biggest vehicle !!!
It proved pretty easy to buy our scooters so that our overseas staff could start to blend in on the daily commute. Anybody can apply for and receive valid Chinese driver’s licenses but it takes some time and money. Registering for a legitimate license plate is really expensive which is why many riders do not bother – this is changing more and more in the cities.
The Public transport in Shanghai is extremely cheap and very efficient and new lines opening all the time. The subway system can be very crowded though. Both of these are due in part to the Shanghai World Expo. Theoretically, when a train is too crowded to get on, you can usually wait for the next and it will be less busy. It doesn’t always work that way at peak times….
For this reason the quickest, cheapest, and one of the most pleasant ways to get around is by bike or scooter. (not always the safest though & weather dependant).
Motorcycles and scooters made in China are inexpensive compared to those made in other countries (About 2200 RMB/375 USD for a new scooter). The general quality of construction might not be so good but when bikes break down finding parts and repairing can be easy and cheap.