Drifting on the Beijing Subway

On April 11, 2012, in Beijing, Getting Around, Tips & Ideas, Travel Info, by Jack Li

In every bigger city in the world there is a subway system and in general they are not that different from each other. But it still needs some getting used to, to find your way around. In most cases it’s a rather cheap, fast and easy way to get around town because it’s pretty much […]

In every bigger city in the world there is a subway system and in general they are not that different from each other. But it still needs some getting used to, to find your way around. In most cases it’s a rather cheap, fast and easy way to get around town because it’s pretty much independent of weather and traffic conditions. When you travel to Beijing you’ll see that the subway system is, unlike some other cities, quite modern, clean and easy to use. When you go on one of the Beijing tours you can experience travelling by bus and being on the road. Taking the subway offers different opportunities and another view of Beijing. If you haven’t travelled by subway you’ve missed one part of the Beijing experience.

One of the hardest parts might be getting the ticket because the machines are quite easy to use but there is no English version. All lines have different numbers and different colors, so if you know the name of your stop in Chinese characters it’s not difficult to use. On the top part of the touch screen you can find all lines, line 2 being the most important one, going in a circle around the center of the city. If you click on it the screen it will show you all stops of this line. By clicking on your stop it tells you the price and you can insert the money. To pay you can either use 1 ¥ coins or 5, 10 or 20 ¥ bills. But pay attention, some machines don’t give change so you have to insert the exact amount. If you don’t have any change or only 1 ¥ bills you can also get a ticket at the ticket booth.

The tickets are only valid for a short period of time after you buy them, so you shouldn’t buy more than you need exactly at that time. Another option instead of the single tickets is a rechargeable ticket card which you can also get at the ticket booth. You have to pay a 20 ¥ deposit for the card and then you can put the amount of money you need on it (10 ¥, 20 ¥, 30 ¥…). When exiting the subway the machine will show how much is left on your card.

One thing that might come unexpected is the security check before entering the gate and the number of police officers. Your bags will be scanned or for smaller handbags and during busy times you can present it opened to the officer. To enter the gate you need to hold your card against the machine to open the barrier.

Once you’re at the gate you just need to find the right direction but there are maps with all the stops in characters and English names. Usually the trains for one line are on one gate right opposite each other going to opposite directions. On the train you’ll find maps above all doors indicating all stops and the transfer lines. Those maps are in English and Chinese and so are the announcements for the next stop.

When you exit the subway you first need to decide which exit to take. There are up to four different ones, A, B, C and D, indicating the direction, e. g. south-west. If you take the wrong exit you might have to cross the road to get where you want, but in general the exits are not that far from each other. To get out you need your card again, if it’s a single trip card you need to insert it, the rechargeable cards only need to be swiped again at the barrier.

At rush hour times, for example on a Friday afternoon, it can happen that at the crowded stations in the center of the city one entrance is closed and only serves as an exit so you need to go to another entrance to get in. That way there is a one way system underground to bring some order into the crowded place. Not only in Beijing but also in other cities, if you travel to Shanghai or Xi’an for example, you’ll see how many people can actually fit into the subway trains. At busy times they are really packed with people and even if it looks full, you’ll still find a way to fit in.

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Ways to Travel Around China

On November 21, 2011, in China Travel Gossip, Tips & Ideas, Transportation, Travel Info, by Jack Li

Take a China tour and enjoy the different types of transportation. There are several types of transportation you should try they are airplanes, rickshaws, bikes, buses, taxis, and subway. These types of transportation will add excitement to your China travels. Airplane If you would love to see more then one city in China but you […]

Take a China tour and enjoy the different types of transportation. There are several types of transportation you should try they are airplanes, rickshaws, bikes, buses, taxis, and subway. These types of transportation will add excitement to your China travels.

Airplane

If you would love to see more then one city in China but you only have a limited of time in China, then feel free to travel by Airplane. Airplanes will get you there fast so you can spend more time sight seeing.

Rickshaw

Rickshaws are a cool way to see the sights. A rickshaw is a small carriage pulled by a driver who is riding a bike. Tourist who visit Beijing love to ride rickshaws through the hutongs. Rickshaws are not only used in Beijing they are used all over so if you decided that you don’t feel like walking then find a rickshaw so that you can still enjoy the sights.

Bikes

Another cool way to see the sights is by biking them. Some places where it is fun to bike are Xi’an city wall and from your hotel in Yangshuo to the mud caves. It is also a great way to get your exercises and to see the sights. Many local Chinese ride bikes on a daily basis. So if you want to feel like a local rent a bike and ride it around the city you are staying at. The best time to go bike riding is in the summertime.

Buses

Only major cities like Beijing and Shanghai have subways so if you go to a city that has no subway you will need to ride a bus. Buses are a fun way to travel. Just make sure you know where you are going so that you don’t miss your stop. There are different types of buses first is a double decker bus. On these buses it will be easier for you to find a seat. The second type of bus is a tours bus these buses come with soft comfortable seats. So if you want to see an attraction that is far from your city it is a good idea to catch one of these buses.  The third type of bus is a regular bus; these buses are great for getting you around the city. They will be less expensive then a taxi.

Taxis

If you want to travel to your destination fast then taxi is the best way to go. Taking a taxi will cost you more then taking the subway or bus. If you travel after eleven pm at night in Beijing you will need to take a taxi since the subway will be closed.  

Subways

Traveling by subway is easy to do. Every subway station has a map in it that show all the subway lines and where they are going. So when you enter the subway you will need to know what stop you need so that you can find your way by using the subway map. The subway takes over one million people a day. It is a lot cheaper then going by taxi. Most popular attractions in Beijing have a subway stop near it.

 So when you came to China remember that it is easy to get around. You can book your China flight online to help you get to your destination fast. Bus, taxis and subways are also convent for everyday travel.

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The Survival Guide to the Beijing Subway

On September 6, 2011, in Beijing, Cultural Experience, Getting Around, Tips & Ideas, by Jack Li

  The Beijing subway is the one of the most surreal experiences I have ever come across on my Beijing Tour. It is the 5th busiest in the world and currently consists of 14lines and some 209 miles of operating lines which intends to keep growing until 2015. The busiest line, Line 1, cuts through the entire […]

 

The Beijing subway is the one of the most surreal experiences I have ever come across on my Beijing Tour. It is the 5th busiest in the world and currently consists of 14lines and some 209 miles of operating lines which intends to keep growing until 2015. The busiest line, Line 1, cuts through the entire city centre, including stations at Tianenmen Square and Guomao (where the notorious Silk Market is based). On 4th March 2011, a record breaking 6.82million people rode the subway. Getting to a subway station is very easy as most Beijing Hotels and landmarks are close to one. There are 172 subway stations across the city and 2 further lines are to open in 2012

 

 

Tickets & Security

You can either pay for each ticket individually or invest in a Beijing subway card (similar to a London Oyster Card) which can also be used on buses. A return on the subway is 2RMB no matter how far you are going. Before paying for your ticket, you place your bags on the conveyor belt, similar to that of airports to scan your bags for suspicious items. The subway is one of the very few places in Beijing where you are not allowed to smoke.

 

 

 

Rush Hour

Rush hour in Beijing is what the Beijing subway is most known for. There are mass amounts of people crammed into trains, to the extent that there are specialised security officers to push people into the train, making everyone packed like sardines, similar to that seen on the Tokyo subway. There are ways in which you can avoid these busy times (by avoiding major lines such as line 1 or avoiding traveling at that time completely) but it something to experience by those who want a grasp of everyday life in Beijing.

 

 

 

Tips to Enjoy your Subway Ride

Be safe – As for any subway, use your common sense. Keep all bags zipped and valuables hidden and just keep your subway card in your pocket to avoid rummaging in your bag at the station.

Push – In Western culture, we are prone to queuing – this is not the case in Beijing. Pushing will get you places teamed with shouting ‘ràng yī xià’ which means ‘Please move’.

Get a good spot – The quietest spots on the subway are normally the middle carriages, if you are stuck in a busy carriage, getas far away from the doors as possible to stop being pushed from every possible angle by the large amount of people getting on and off the tube.

Be prepared – When the doors open for the station before you are due to get off, get as close to the door as possible to avoid the struggle at your actual stop and missing your station.

Occupy yourself – On longer subway trips, kill some time by reading a newspaper or talking to a friend to make the journey a little faster.

 

China travel is something to be experienced by all everyone so hop on a subway and visit all the sights of Beijing in a fast, cool and cost-effective way!

 

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Mastering the Underground

On July 7, 2011, in Getting Around, Tips & Ideas, Travel Info, by Jack Li

With a growing population of 1.3 billion people, by far the world’s largest, what’s a country to do in terms of transportation? Develop the urban underground! As of now, 11 major cities in China boast subway systems: Beijing, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Taipei, Wuhan, Shenyang, Tianjin, Nanjing, and Chongqing. 20 additional cities have applied for […]

With a growing population of 1.3 billion people, by far the world’s largest, what’s a country to do in terms of transportation? Develop the urban underground! As of now, 11 major cities in China boast subway systems: Beijing, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Taipei, Wuhan, Shenyang, Tianjin, Nanjing, and Chongqing. 20 additional cities have applied for permits to begin construction of their own subway lines, known as dìtiě in Chinese. If you’ve landed in China with China Flights and this is your first time traveling to a city that has a subway system, never fear! China Travels is here with a step-by-step guide to help you master the underground!

Things you will need:

  • Money
  • Current map of your city
  1. Walk to the nearest subway station. Subway stations are uniformly marked and easily recognizable. For example, in Beijing, look for a large D on a blue sign.
  2. Put your baggage through the security scanner. (Note: Security scanners are not at every station.)
  3. Use either the automated machine or the ticket window to purchase a ticket. Depending on the city, prices will range between 2-5 yuan. Some cities set a fixed price (e.g. Beijing) while others use distance traveled to determine the price (e.g. Tianjin).
  4. Wave your ticket over the turnstile sensor to enter the station.
  5. Using your own map or the maps posted in the subway station, locate your destination and see which subway line(s) will take you there. Head to the appropriate subway line.
  6. Check the signs and maps to make sure you are lining up on the side of the platform with a train traveling in your desired direction. For example, if Line 2 runs north-south, the platform will have two different trains that stop on either side, one going north and one going south.
  7. Line up at the yellow lines on the edge of the platform.
  8. Follow the crowd and squeeze onto the subway!
  9. Keep an eye on the map located above the subway doors and listen to the announcements to make sure you don’t miss your stop.
  10. Before your exit, nudge your way to the front of the doors for a smooth exit. Otherwise, if the subways are crowded, you might get stuck at the back of the car and be unable to get off because people are pushing to come on board.
  11. Step off the subway!
  12. Follow the signs to either A) transfer to the appropriate subway line, or B) see which terminal you should exit through to put you closest to your destination.
  13. To exit the station: if your ticket is one-time use only, stick it into the turnstile slot located below the sensor; if it is a Metro Pass, wave it over the turnstile sensor.

Things you may want to know:

  • If you plan to use the subway often, consider purchasing a Metro Pass (called an IC card). With a 20 yuan refundable deposit, you can load as much money onto it as you’d like, eliminating the need to buy an individual ticket each time you use the subway.
  • If you take the wrong exit, the only inconvenience will be an extra few minutes of walking.
  • Subway stations are full of signs in both Chinese and English.

Best of luck! If you’d like some more advice on mastering the underground during your trip to China, consider joining a tour group and hearing the expert advice of a tour guide!

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Beijing Subways, Take You an Underground World

On November 8, 2010, in Beijing, Getting Around, Tips & Ideas, by Jack Li

When you just come to Beijing for your China Tours, do not worry about the traffic and every strange street. When your China Flight arrivals, you can take airport express to the downtown Beijing. The Beijing Subway is a rapid transit rail network that serves the urban and suburban districts of Beijing municipality. It is the oldest and busiest […]

When you just come to Beijing for your China Tours, do not worry about the traffic and every strange street. When your China Flight arrivals, you can take airport express to the downtown Beijing.

The Beijing Subway is a rapid transit rail network that serves the urban and suburban districts of Beijing municipality. It is the oldest and busiest subway in mainland China, and the second longest after the Shanghai Metro. On April 30, 2010, the subway delivered a record 6.4 million rides. The existing network still cannot adequately meet the city’s mass transit needs and is undergoing rapid expansion. Overall, plans call for 19 lines and 561 km of tracks in operation by 2015. The Chinese government’s ¥4 trillion economic stimulus package has accelerated subway construction. In addition to ten lines already under construction, work is set to begin on two more lines in 2010, and the entire network will reach 420 km by 2012.

A flat fare of RMB 2.00 with unlimited transfers applies to all lines except the Airport Express, which costs ¥25. Children below 1.2m in height ride for free when accompanied by a paying adult. All lines now collect fares through automatic fare collection (AFC) machines that accept single-ride tickets and the One Card Through Card or Yikatong, an integrated circuit card (ICC card) that can store credit for multiple rides. Riders can purchase tickets and add credit to Yikatong at ticket counters and vending machines in every station. Yikatong is also accepted on many city buses, and can be used as e-money for other purchases.

The use of tickets hand checked by clerks was phased out on June 9, 2008. Before the flat fare was introduced on October 7, 2007, fares ranged from ¥3 to ¥7, depending on the line and number of transfers.

With new lines drawing more riders to the network and the fare reduction making rides more affordable, the subway has experienced severe overcrowding, especially during the rush hour. In response, the subway upgraded signal equipment to increase the frequency of trains and added to the capacity of subway trains. The minimum wait-time has been reduced to 2 min. on Line 2; 2 min. 15 sec. on Line 1; 3 min. on Lines 4, 5, 13 & Batong; 3.5 min. on Line 10; and 15 min. on the Airport Express. Lines 13 and Batong have converted 4-car to 6-car trains. Despite these efforts, during the morning rush hour, conductors at line terminals and other busy stations must routinely restrict the number of passengers who can board each train to prevent the train from becoming too crowded for passengers waiting at other stations down the line. Lines 6, 7 and 14 now under construction will reportedly have longer platforms that can accommodate 8-car trains.

Mobile phones can currently be used throughout the system, except for in the tunnels between stations on Lines 1 and 2. There are plans for all lines and stations to have cellular coverage.

To ensure public safety during the 2008 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, the subway initiated a three-month heightened security program from June 29 to September 20, 2008. Riders were subject to searches of their persons and belongings at all stations by security inspectors using metal detectors, X-Ray machines and sniffer dogs. Items banned from public transportation such as “guns, ammunition, knives, explosives, flammable and radioactive materials, and toxic chemicals” were subject to confiscation.

You can just visit chinatraveldepot.com for more information about your Travel to Beijing.

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