Knowledge Base,Stories,Travels

China for Beginners: Taking the Guangzhou Metro II

Accidental testing the system

As discussed in part 1, I have decided to leave the comfort zone of taxis and travel almost exclusively on the Guangzhou metro.  I quickly got very comfortable with the basics of taking the metro and developed quite a routine. It was going underground, buying a token, then putting my bag and myself through the security scan (yes, every time, and yes, just like at the airport) and then taking the train to my destination.

Fast, cheap and flexible: the Guangzhou metro.

After a few days I got a bit adventurous and wondered what would happen if I buy a token to a certain destination but actually don’t exit the metro at that destination but instead a few stations later? No sooner thought than done, I accidentally exited two stations later than originally intended. As I tried to put my token in to exit the metro station, the token – quite understandably – got rejected. A scene similar to my very first metro experience ensued as I was – yet again – holding up the line, and people behind me were not too happy.

Here again a friendly guy speaking English came to my aid. He helped me by telling me to go to the service point and have my token checked before hurrying away to reach his destination. I followed his directions and walked to the service point, handed the lady behind the counter my token and explained my predicament. As it turns out, I had to pay an extra RMB 1 for the extra fare that I had incurred. Cash exchanged hands, I received my token and could now exit the metro without any problems. And I had solved yet another mystery. If I changed my mind halfway through the metro ride to my destination, I could simply pay the additional fare at the service point. Quite a flexible system I thought!