Guangzhou Part 5 ~ Getting Around
As in Singapore, Guangzhou have three kinds of public transport systems. Taxi, train or bus. Air-con, cheap boarding fare of S$1.60 & all run by meter, made taxi my preferred mode of transportation. In Guangzhou, all taxis have metal bars separating driver from passengers. Only children or women are allowed to sit at the front. Newer taxis are equipped with mobile TV like those in some of our buses. In the back seats of every taxis, there's a notice in Mandarin & English. It have all the information you need in case you wanna lodge a complain. Some cabs even have auto-announcement in English, telling you the boarding fare & asking you to put on the seat belt.
In the recent years, Guangzhou had lay down a modern underground rapid transport system like our MRT. Much cheaper than our MRT though. Tried it a few times, just for the experience & fun. All signs or notices are in Mandarin & English. Oh, their English is much better now & appearing more in public usage. Last I was there, very few English words around & anything in English don't make sense, like those direct translations from Babel Fish. =P
If you can't read Mandarin, there's an English language option on their computerized touch-screen ticketing machine. In my opinion, it's much more simpler to operate then our MRT ones. No deposit. Just pay the actual fare. The one trip ticket is a black plastic coin. Tap coin on gate sensor when going in, put coin into slot upon exit. For regular users, they also have something like our EZ Link card.
How to take train
Some underground waiting platforms have glass panels barrier, some don't. Fine(500 Yuen) if you jump onto the track... guess they will let you off if you get smash by the train. Kekeke... All seats are metal... so cold on my butt! Everything is very clean though, unlike the streets above.
Traveling by train
Some things puzzled me in their stations. They have these devices with long antenna, LCD screen, card slot & numbered buttons. Video phones? Satellite phones? Those antennas look like those used by satellite phones. As far as I know, these devices can only be found in train stations. Took pic, but slipped my mind to ask their staff. Maybe someone can tell me what are they? =P
What the hell are these?
Bus, I didn't try. Dunno how. Very crowded & no one queue. When bus arrived, all charge forward, pushing & fighting for seats. OMG! I'll be squash! Saw two types of bus in Guangzhou, diesel & electric engine. Electric engine ones move so soundlessly. Wonder what will happen if power failure? =P
Previously, millions of motorcycles on the streets & pavements. Now, all motorbikes & motorized bicycles are ban from downtown areas of the city. Our host told us that the ban was implement coz of too many cases of snatch thefts using motorbike. All residents & companies within the area have to surrender their bikes within a deadline. They were not allowed to sell off their bikes. All were scraped by the authorities. Compromise is only 50 Yuen(S$10) for per bike surrendered. Our host told us lots of business were affected by the ban. His company lost three brand new bikes, bought for tens of thousands of Yuen & got back only 150 Yuen(S$30). The benefit from this ban is, unlike my previous visit which we had to be constantly on the alert for snatch thieves, streets of Guangzhou is much safer now.
No Motorbike Allowed!
Sometimes, late at night, I still saw motorized bicycles sneaking by, seldom in daylight. If caught, they face confiscation of their vehicle & a fine of 200 Yuen(S$40). The only 'motorbike' allowed to operate are three wheels scooters. These need special license & for company operation only. They are used mainly for delivery or you get a van. Vans are known as bread cars in Guangzhou coz they look like loaves of bread. =P
Three wheels scooters & a 'bread car'
The only motorbike you'll see in Guangzhou downtown areas is traffic police motorbike like this one I 'borrowed'... heehee!
Recruitment poster for traffic police? =P
Guangzhou is safer now also due to the fact that their police force are now omnipresent. Last time, rarely see any policeman around. Now, it's a common sight to see police cars with flashing lights cruising around & policemen everywhere. Even the army is helping to uphold the law in many places, all in preparation for 2008 Olympic Games. Every major traffic junctions in down town area have four policemen directing traffic. Last time, many vehicles don't stop when light turned red. All drivers ignored pedestrians' right of way at zebra crossings. Now they stop, but zebra crossings are still invisible to them. Many still drive against traffic flow. Seen many drivers drive into one-way street with horn blaring, ignoring the no-entry sign, in broad daylight!
Police & Army everywhere
At popular places not accessible by cars, police used electric buggy.
When I grow up, I wanna be a policeman, driving cute vehicles...
With the ban of motorbikes, car sale rocketed. More than 100 new cars hit the road everyday, causing massive traffic jams nearly everywhere. Cars are cheap. A new car cost about S$5,000. Mostly Japanese, European & American models, all made in China.
Other than traffic jams, accidents occurred frequently too. Last I was there, drivers have superb driving skill. Didn't saw any accident. Now, saw accident nearly every time I'm on the road. Our host was continually complaining about too many noob drivers, especially female ones. Male drivers had their faults too. A bus driver got distracted by me when I crossed a traffic junction. He slowed for the red light, but forgotten to brake completely. Hahaha!
Bus kiss car backside =P
For those who couldn't afford car or van, bicycles are in vogue again.
Me hijack bicycle =P
Bicycles & tricycles everywhere, multi-utility vehicles carrying anything from...
Canned fruits, water bottles & a caged man
Plants, gas tanks & sugar canes
or just pleasure cruising
Other transports I used in Guangzhou...
These didn't get me far, but it's been fun! =P