Here's our experience trying the new Pudong-to-Hongqiao subway line (Line 2) in Shanghai.
- 16:00 - landing in Shanghai Pudong (PVG)
- 16:50 - having passed immigration, baggage claims, customs, finding our way to the Metro stop (not much farther than the Maglev), figured the ticket system (my Shanghai Metro fare card from 2008) apparently no longer valid) and the escalators, actually boarded a train
- 18:10 arrived to Hongqiao metro station (this included a cross-platform transfer at an intermediate stop at Guanglan Station)
- 18:25 got to the ticketing machines and purchases a ticket for a 19:00 train to Nanjing. (We probably could have even made the 18:30 train if we had been a bit faster earlier on, and more familiar with the layout)
- 18:35 navigated through the gigantic Hongqiao Station, got to the boarding gate
- 19:00 a G train leaves Shanghai Hongqiao Station
20:15 - arrival to Nanjing Station. (This was a non-stop G train, probably one of the fastest trains of the day.
The subway fare was just Y8 - and that's to cross the entire huge metropolitan area, probably over 30 km across.
The G train to Nanjing, was Y146 (a bit over US $20) - as compared to something like Y70-90 on a D train (which takes 2-2.5 hrs) or Y50-60 on a K ("kuai", "fast") train which may take over 4 hrs
Overall, both the subway and the intercity train line are of course major engineering and public works achievement, as was the Shanghai Maglev. One is left wondering, however, whether the travelling public would have been better off if, instead of building the Maglev and the Huning line (where the new G trains run between Shanghai and Nanjing), Shanghai had instead somehow extended the regular train line from Shanghai (Main) Station to Pudong Airport, with a couple stops near Pudong's dense business and residential areas. That would allow some D trains to run all the way from Nanjing or Hefei to Pudong, making the overall travel time from PVG to places like Suzhou, Wuxi or Nanjing quite a bit shorter than the current arrangement does.
P.S. Traveling back on a Sunday afternoon; subway trains pretty full, but not overcrowded. 1 hour 30 min from boarding the subway train at Hongqiao to arrival at Pudong Airport Station.