Super commuters in China | Through The Lens

By Vera (Tencent News)

Working here, living there: the amount of long-distance commuters in China is escalating at an impressive speed especially in major cities and metropolises.

Like many other countries, more job opportunities and higher living costs makes young people work in big cities and live in smaller towns or cities nearby.  As a result, people nowadays spend more than twice as long commuting as they used to. It’s pretty common for people working in Beijing or Shanghai to spend more than 4 hours commuting every day. They call themselves “super commuters”.

So, what’s their daily life like?

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People waiting in line for the Beijing to Yanjiao (Hebei province) inter-city bus, a small town located east of Beijing. A one-way journey usually takes around 3 hours.
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In 2015, the Beijing-Yanjiao high-speed inter-city train was first introduced to commuters, saving on average 60 minutes travel time each day.
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In 2013, Shanghai subway line 11 became the first inter-city subway in China connecting Shanghai and Kunshan, a small city in Jiangsu province located northwest of Shanghai. It now only takes 1.5 hours from Kunshan to downtown Shanghai.
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Shi Guangjian is a Cantonese working in Guangzhou, the capital city of Guangdong province. In order to “live in a bigger place,” he brought an apartment in Foshan, another city next to Guangzhou. Having to drive almost 100 km per day to work, he still thinks it’s a better choice rather than owning a small condo in Guangzhou.
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Having been working in Macau for a decade, media specialist Yao Wenlong still sticks to the same lifestyle he had a ten years ago: work in Macaw and live in Zhuhai. “Macau is a perfect city for my career, but Zhuhai is my home forever.” In doing so, he has to spend 4 hours commuting every day.
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