When you buy a transportation card in Shanghai (交通卡 or jiao tong ka), you have to make an RMB 30 “deposit”. So for example, if you give a RMB 100 note when you buy your card, it will only be credited with RMB 70.
According to today’s Shanghai Daily, there are 15 million transport cards in use in Shanghai. Yes, that makes RMB 450 million (although China Radio International uses different math) in the pockets of the Shanghai Public Transportation Card Corp. … or somewhere — and the Shanghai Commission on Consumer Rights and Interest Protection (we have one of those?) argues that “consumers have the right to know” why the deposit needs to be 30 kuai (we have heard the cost of one card is RMB 7) and what exactly is being done with all the money. Our guess? Mistresses. We smell another Shanghai scandal!
This drama all started after a Beijing university student filed a lawsuit saying that city’s transportation cards were too expensive — they are only 20 kuai. We’d gladly pay that … if our card would be guaranteed to work, something that hasn’t been happening too much lately.
Switching to more trivial transportation card matters, what’s the funniest way you’ve seen someone swipe theirs? A few days ago, we saw a guy sit on the card reader — he had his card in the back pocket of his trousers!