In China, You Can Now Ride the Subway Using Only Your Face

The eastern city of Jinan has introduced 3D facial scans for those wanting to ride the subway without the hassle of tickets or transport cards

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1:14 AM HKT, Tue April 9, 2019

If you went back to work this morning using the subway in your city and swiped a public transportation card, by Chinese standards you’d be considered massively behind the curve (and don’t even get us started on buying an actual ticket, ugh). Virtual transportation cards on phone screens have been a thing in places such as Shanghai for months already, but now the city of Jinan in China’s eastern province of Shandong has made even that look passé by introducing 3D face scans at ticket gates.

Yes, all you need to do to ride the city’s metro system now is download an app, hand over all your facial recognition data, link said personal information with your bank account, and presumably not get plastic surgery and you can waltz through the entrance gates by simply showing your face.


According to a report from Chinese-language portal Qudong, the ticket gate cameras are capable of spotting those attempting to use “photos, videos, or masks” to enter the gates fraudulently and that the chances of being able to trick the cameras in such a way is “one in a million”.

So, we can now add “taking the subway” to the long list of facial recognition uses in China — including boarding a flight, rounding up criminals, and rearing pigs.

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