Category Archives: Transport

Intercity Railway to open Nov. 1

The region’s biggest and most important infrastructure project of the year, if not the decade, will open on November 1, it was announced today. Originally scheduled to open on National Day, October 1, the Guangzhou-Dongguan-Shenzhen Intercity Railway was forced to delay its launch after some technical issues came up that had to be resolved. But these have now been fixed.

After 11 years of construction, the railway line is a vital connector of 15 stations, all key nodes along the eastern coast of the Greater Bay Area. Running through its three biggest cities, in its first phase of development the railway will start at the Shenzhen Airport in Baoan and run up to Xintang station, on the border of Guangzhou and Dongguan. Sometime next year it will be extended to Qianhai in the south. The next stage thereafter will be to connect further northward, to Guangzhou East and then Guangzhou Airport and Guangzhou North. 

In the meantime, the Xintang station will connect with the old Guangshen Railway, enabling passengers to switch trains and go to Guangzhou East, which is in the Tianhe business district. Read our explainer here, with maps.

Mobike upgrades in Shenzhen

After clocking up 280 million hours of ridership in the city of Shenzhen, Mobike has decided to relaunch its local fleet with 80,000 new yellow-colored bicycles.

The bicycle-sharing company that seems to have emerged triumphant from the industry’s recent consolidation wars began replacement work on October 16. It is the third time Mobike, which is was acquired by the tech conglomerate Meituan, has done a full replacement since it entered Shenzhen three years ago. Cai Junlian, area manager of Meituan Bike, said the company will ship all of its old bikes out of Shenzhen.

This is Mobike’s fifth upgrade, and its new models are a big improvement in terms of comfort, durability, and safety (better braking). Moreover, now riders can use the Meituan app, which means they do not have to pay a deposit. Users switching over from the original Mobike account will keep their balance and other information.

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Guangdong opens up via HZMB

The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the world’s longest sea crossing, has been plagued by bureaucratic bottlenecks since its opening on October 20 last year. Due to difficulties in securing permits to drive on the bridge, traffic has been running at a trickle, largely confined to shuttle buses and expensive limo services. But this may be about to change. 

Last week, Guangdong’s Public Security Bureau slipped out a notice that, henceforth, Hong Kong and Macau drivers would find it easier to go into Guangdong via the HZMB. With a short checklist of items needed to apply, a one-stop application window (albeit in Zhuhai), and improved technology (e-licenses), now drivers can go into Guangdong via the bridge within three days of applying.

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Guangzhou, Shenzhen keep air traffic rising as Hong Kong drops

Data from Guangdong’s two major airports indicates that their air traffic continued to grow in August, while protests targeting the Hong Kong International Airport had a material impact on its traffic overall – not only that of its biggest carrier, Cathay Pacific. While overall traffic through HKIA dropped 12.4% YoY in August, the worst in more than 10 years, Shenzhen Baoan and Guangzhou Baiyun both saw their traffic rise by almost the same amount.

The three airports are more than 100 km apart and are not yet connected by high-speed railway, so it is not that easy for passengers stranded at one (for whatever reason) to switch to another one. Nevertheless, it seems that the two domestic airports, which do not have nearly as many international flights as HKIA does, appeared to make gains at the same time that Hong Kong was being disrupted.

Continue reading Guangzhou, Shenzhen keep air traffic rising as Hong Kong drops

Shenzhen Metro 1H results

Here is a report from the Shenzhen Metro: It had revenue of RMB10.94 billion in the first half, with profits of RMB4 billion. It spent RMB15.62 billion on construction, while the extensions of Line 5 and 9 will be ready for operation by the end of this year, and lines 6, 8 and 10 are scheduled for trial operation next year. 

It was a good period for property developments, too. The state-owned company has acquired 12 land parcels that can yield up to 4.5 million sqm. These developments, including residential, retail, office and hotels, are located in the major developing districts such as the Qianhai Shekou Free Trade Zone, the Shenzhen Bay Super Headquarters Base, Futian, Longhua and Longgang. Shenzhen Metro was ranked the city’s second-biggest developer. 

Zhuhai-HK bus services ramp up

Passengers wanting to cross the HZMB between Zhuhai and Hong Kong got a big boost recently with the launch of new point-to-point services. The Zhuhai Public Transportation Group has teamed up with Hong Kong’s Kwoon Chung Bus Holdings Limited to offer a “one ticket multiple destinations” scheme. 

Passengers can log onto the WeChat account of Zhuhai Public Transportation and with one click buy bus tickets from Zhuhai’s city center to the Zhuhai port of the HZMB. From there they can transfer to buses heading to different destinations in Hong Kong. 

Read our GBA FAQto know more. 

SZ-HK helicopter flights launched

Helicopter services within the GBA are no longer exclusively for high-rollers going to Macau: Shenzhen has introduced flights to Hong Kong as well. The first was run last Friday by an Airbus H135, which took 15 minutes from Shenzhen Baoan International Airport to the Shun Tak Heliport in Hong Kong’s Sheung Wan district. 

Shenzhen Eastern General Aviation Company will run a fleet a high-end helicopters that will expand to 1,000 within the next five years. It will focus on business and leisure travel for those wanting to experience what a “15-minute travel circle” within the GBA is like. 

Although the first trip was from the airport, the city government will develop Shekou port to support helicopter services. These will also be used for emergency medical services, tourism, and short-distance logistics. The government says it will build the necessary infrastructure and simplify regulations. The city is also working on a larger low-altitude aerial transport plan as part of its urban mobility masterplan within the city that includes unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), together with input from Airbus and a number of other companies invested in expanding the drone business. Air taxis are coming.

Read more in Chinese. 

Shenzhen metro to go driverless

Shenzhen is going auto. In the next phase of its subway construction, trains will be run on a combination of 5G and AI, enabling autonomous driving. Linked by “smart stations” the entire subway network will be run by algorithms.

The system is being developed by CASCO, a company founded by China Railway Signal and Communication Corporation, headquartered in Shanghai, where it has already been adopted. It is apparently fully comprehensive, covering scheduling anf movement of the trains, cleaning and maintenance, door operations, air conditioning, lighting, and, the all-important one, “malfunction prevention and solutions”. Passenger flows will, of course, be monitored constantly and catered to.

Shenzhen’s subway is in its third phase of construction, which will be completed by next year, with 12 lines in total. The unmanned control system will be adopted in the fourth phase, with the addition of four lines.

Read more in Chinese.

Foshan gets direct high-speed link to HK

On July 10, Foshan will begin running high-speed trains directly to Hong Kong. Similar to the announcement made yesterday about Zhaoqing, the Foshan service to Kowloon will be just one hour and 22 minutes. Second class fare is RMB225. Tickets will be available on trip.com (our recommendation).

It is not actually a new line. All that is happening is journeys previously requiring a change in Guangzhou South will now run direct, i.e., at certain times of day, trains will run all the way to and from Hong Kong.

Read more in Chinese.