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The Guangzhou Metro & People’s Behaviors

Written by Daniel Otero

To the left, to the left


By: Daniel Otero



Wondering through the streets of Guangzhou, I have found myself in a world bigger than I thought it’d be.


This amazing City has everything big, I mean, extremely big!  From its complete decked out metro system to the railway stations and its International Airport.


Traveling around Guangzhou, people seem friendly enough.


But what I often encountered here is a problem between Chinese and the infrastructure.  This City can be messy!


The metro has two lines which absolutely make no sense and can be confusing for a newbie: the lines 1 and 3 exasperate me!  Especially along the City center, these divide-up like forks on the road and confuse me all the more.


The other problem encountered is boarding the metro cars downtown.  It’s more of a struggle: like the pushing and shoving in a wrestling match to get on or off!  Few of the personnel are there to guide.  Although, the signs and postings are clear for people to stand to left or right and allow passengers to exit the train in a supposed easy flow through the middle…  People are continuously rushing in desperation trying to filter through the center, left and right!  Therefore, not allowing enough time to board or exit the metro.


There’s another problem in the Guangzhou Metro, there are constant arguments among Chinese because of the pushing and shoving, and sometimes other conflicts arise when you get a loud person talking over the top of their lungs on their mobile phone!


The signs are all around and commercials telling people to be ‘harmonious’ and ‘courteous’, but I still find an element of people not following the rules in their own City.  Guangzhou [again] is a grand place, but I find it to be a bit of a headache when travelling.


Therefore, if people speaking out will not do the trick, commercials and signs won’t do it neither; then it’s time for some good-old fashioned ticketing!


Have a metro cop dispensing warnings and tickets for those who refuse to obey the law.  If niceness doesn’t help, and people saying something won’t do it, then it’s time to pay with the pocket!  Make the bystander suffer for disobeying these simple rules. Because pushing and shoving ‘ain’t’ cutting it with over the top yells!


The same issue with the loudspeakers on the train.  With the wave of humanity, you can barely hear the information given to the passengers on the metro.


When I go to the airport, it is so confusing which Terminal do I get off, because the loudspeaker is barely audible!


Already Baiyun Airport is a literal ‘world’ and hard enough to understand or get around it.  If the signs aren’t clear and information isn’t easy to comprehend; the traveler feels like a ‘chicken with their head cut off’.  Going aimlessly all over the place!


One thing I didn’t feel too terrible about, because sometimes I think I’m the problem for not understanding properly Chinese.  Well, I found that people going there to pick a friend or loved one and passengers departing often had the same confusion as I. And they are Chinese!  Therefore, in the end, I didn’t feel all that bad!


With this said, travelers, pedestrians and bystanders, to the left-to the left.  It’s easy, like the Beyonce song!  When boarding the trains or on the automatic stairs.  Therefore, allowing people to gain access through the right!

About the author

Daniel Otero

A New Yorker who has been living in China for the past 10 years. He's a freelance writer/journalist and ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher.

A former member of the military with extensive travel to 50 countries and has lived in six.

Lover of life, good food, travel, writing and dealing with social issues.