Historically, Hangzhou's status as a major port and the starting point on the Hangzhou-Beijing Grand Canal fuelled its prosperity as a one of the most important water transport hubs in southern China. The Grand Canal has lost its importance, but today Hangzhou is a vital rail and road hub for the Yangtze delta, as well as one of the busiest air destinations in China.
The city has a well-integrated public transport system, and the flat terrain makes travel easy for visitors, whether they choose one of Hangzhou's modern buses, or opt for a rented bicycle to take in the city's sights at a slower pace. Hangzhou will further improve its public transport system with a modern subway system, expected to go into service by the end of 2012. Another major transport project is the high-speed maglev (magnetic levitation) train link between Shanghai and Hangzhou. The train reaches speeds of 450 kph (280 mph) in open country and slashes travel time between the two cities to 30 minutes.
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