However the technology still has a few bugs. Sometimes the machines will refuse to read paper notes, especially when, as is so often the case in China, they are worn or dirty. The machines will accept $1 coins and the ticket office will give you change. Also, for all these reasons especially at peak hours, there is often a long queue at the ticket machines.

Our tip is, if you are staying in Shenzhen for a few days or intend to make Shenzhen part of your weekend routine, buy a stored value card Shenzhen Tong card. The Shenzhen Tong card can also be used on most buses. Go to the ticket office and show these characters to the attendant.

This will cost you $100 including $60 of travel value. $40 is for the card. Touch the card on the sensor on entering and leaving the station. Your fare will automatically be deducted. There are readers on each station to check your balance and you can top up at add value machines in denominations of $50 and $100. You can also top up in convenience stores such as 7/11 stores.

All of these procedures are not significantly different from those applying on Hong Kong MTR stations so you shouldn’t have any major problems.

Uniquely in China, the standard of public courtesy on the Shenzhen metro is high. Incidentally, one Chinese courtesy that often seems a little perverse to Westerners is that children get preference for seats. So if you don’t want to be taken for an ignorant barbarian, don’t let kids, or particularly mothers with kids, stand while you’re seated. Chinese do stand up for older people as well but usually only for the very elderly. Our teeth are a little longer than we’d prefer but to us this seems no persuasive reason why so many young people should be constantly offering us their seats. Nevertheless this is a big city and if you find yourself without a seat and one becomes vacant do not be shy about promptly grabbing a seat. Everyone else does, with the exceptions as of leaving seats for young children, their mothers, the disabled and the elderly. If there is someone you would like to give your seat to as you near your destination, vacate the seat before the train stops so the person can be seated before more people rush into the train.


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