The Shanghai Metro is the world's largest rapid transit system by route length totaling 676 kilometres (420 mi).  It is the second largest by the number of stations with 413 stations on 16 lines.  It ranks second in the world by annual ridership with 3.53 billion rides delivered in 2017. The daily ridership record was set at 12.50 million on September 21, 2018. Over 10 million people use the system on an average workday.


The Shanghai Metro opened in 1993 with full-scale construction extending back to 1986, and is the third-oldest rapid transit system in mainland China, after the Beijing Subway and the Tianjin Metro. It has urban and suburban transit services to 14 of its 16 municipal districts and to Huaqiao Town, Kunshan, Jiangsu Province. 


It has seen substantial growth, significantly during the years leading up to the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, and is still expanding quickly, with its most recent expansions having opened in December 2018. It is the largest component of the Shanghai metropolitan rail transit network, together with the Shanghai Maglev Train, the Zhangjiang Tram and the China Railway-operated commuter rail services to Jinshan. The metro system is also integrated with other forms of public transport in Shanghai.


On 16 October 2013, with the extension of Line 11 into Kunshan in Jiangsu province, Shanghai Metro became the first rapid transit system in China to provide cross-provincial service and the second intercity metro after the Guangfo Metro. Further plans to connect the Shanghai Metro with the metro systems of Suzhou are under active review, with the first line connecting Shanghai Metro Line 11 and Suzhou Metro Line 3 under constriction and projected to be completed by 2024. Ambitious expansion plans call for 25 lines with over 1,000 km (620 mi) of length by 2025. By then, every location in the central area of Shanghai will be within 600 m (2,000 ft) of a subway station.

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