When you think of a subway station, you imagine an urban setting, connectivity to buses and taxis, parking lots, restaurants, cafés, shops, a bank, etc. Basically, all the amenities that the public can use in this fast-paced life. Earlier, the presence and number of such amenities distinguished a rural area from an urban one, however, nowadays these have become mandatory in a rural setting too. Perhaps, not to the extent as in major cities, but development is enveloping larger areas at a faster pace.
So it’s great news when we hear that even rural cities in China are well equipped with a super modern subway station. China’s Caojiawan Station is one such example; however, the story here is slightly different. The interior of the subway station is modern, and the floors are covered with sparkling, clean black stones, while the walls are shiny blue. The station is flooded with bright lights and the staff on duty includes security guards and subway officers.
On the outside though, the scene is different altogether. The exit leads to a barren wasteland overgrown with wild plants, weeds, and shrubs. There are no concrete roads for highway connections, no facilities to park cars and the absence of a bus stop suggests that no buses or other public transportation connect the subway station to the city center. Certainly, no sign of cafés, restaurants, and banks. According to one report, the setting outside “could easily be from a post-apocalyptic movie.”
The Caojiawan Station is a part of the network of subway lines created for the transportation of 9 million people residing in the southwestern part of China. It’s one of the stops on Line 6 of the Chongqing Railway Transit Service. Regardless of what is on the outside, the station has been fully operational since 2015. Unsurprisingly, it doesn’t have a lot of visitors. The station is designed with three exits and only one is used. The sight outside the two unused exits is, naturally, far worse than the one that is being used by the station’s handful of commuters. Furthermore, the ones that do use the station also have to rely on a van service to transport them from the suburbs to the city center.
This poor planning appears to be the result of lack of communication and connectivity between government departments. The government department in charge of constructing subways justifies its decision to build a subway in this location by stating that it is part of the larger plan to improve connectivity and infrastructure development in rural China. The other department, in charge of road planning, construction, and maintenance, is separate and has not taken the initiative to work along with the subway department and develop the area as a whole.
This is a major drawback and indicates that effective planning is essential and that all governments need to work together in harmony to provide the necessary infrastructure, services, and facilities to the public. Hopefully, the road department and the Chongqing City planning commission will catch up with the subway department soon to make the station more user-friendly. Until then, this station is, undeniably, the most lonely station in the world. This symbol of rural development has become quite famous on the Internet for all the wrong reasons.