Traffic in Beijing


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Beijing offers many optional vehicles both for locals and visitors to get around the city or leave for other destinations at will. The city now has a greatly improved transport system, though traffic jams may happen at peak times. Here we provide as much transport information as we could for your convenience, to make your Beijing tour more comfortable.

Traveling by public bus in Beijing is very cheap. Many buses announce the stop names in both Chinese and English, so you may have a try to take a bus.

All buses are charged by distance. The minimum charge is CNY2 for the first 6 miles (10km), and then an extra CNY1 is added per additional 3 miles (5km). Passengers paying by Beijing Transportation Smart Card enjoy 50% discount when taking buses in city downtown. They can enjoy 30% discount for taking some suburban buses.

1. If there are three gates on a bus, please embark using the middle gate and disembark from the other two gates.
2. Those pay by a smart cards have to touch the card to the reader machine when one embarks on the bus and disembarks from the bus. At least CNY1 should be kept on their smart cards for taking bus.
3. Over payment by cash into the coin machine will not be refunded.

Subways are the fastest transportation in this city and they are a good way to avoid frequent traffic jams. Presently there are 17 subway lines plus one airport express line in operation. They connect city center stops such as Tiananmen Square, Qianmen, and the railway station with outlying areas. The price is charged according to the distance. It is CNY3 for the first 3.7 miles (6km), CNY4 for 3.7 to 7.5 miles (6 to 12km), CNY5 for 7.5 to 13.7 miles (12 to 22km), CNY6 for 13.7 to 20 miles (22 to 32km), extra CNY2 for every additional 12.4 miles (20km) if distance over 20 miles (32km). A Transportation Smart Card can be used for paying. The stops are announced in both Chinese and English. Passengers can query the subway staff to avoid going in the wrong direction and wasting time. Click here to see Beijing Subway Map.

Taking a taxi is the most convenient way for newcomers to travel around a metropolis like Beijing. There are over 66,000 taxis running in every corner of the city. Most of drivers in Beijing can speak some simple English, which offers western visitors a great convenience of being able to communicate with them. Passengers can book a cab 24 hours in advance by phone, internet or mobile phone through the citywide reservation system. The minimum fare for taking a taxi is CNY 13 (for the first 3 kilometers). The final price will be rounded to the whole number of Chinese Yuan. For example, CNY 15.4 will be rounded down to CNY 15, and CNY 15.6 will be rounded up to CNY 16.

Beijing has two airports, namely, Beijing Capital Intentional Airport (BCIA) featuring international and domestic flights, and Nanyuan Airport featuring only domestic flights. BCIA is situated in the Shunyi District of the city, about 25 km (about 15.5 miles) northeast of Tiananmen Square, and is China's busiest and most important international airport. It consists of three terminal buildings. The high standard of services and facilities has attracted 66 airlines to operate here. Currently, the airport has flight connections to some 88 domestic and 69 foreign cities.

The Airport Express Line of the Subway serves the airport from Terminal 3 to Terminal 2 and then takes passengers to Dongzhimen via Sanyuanqiao. This line was opened just prior to the 2008 Summer Olympics. It carries passengers to the airport in twenty minutes from the city center, covering a distance of 28 kilometers.

Currently, there are nine different shuttle bus routes connecting the airport with various locations in the downtown area, such as Xidan, Railway Station, West Railway Station, Nanyuan Airport and others.

As the busiest rail transportation hub in China, Beijing has many railway trunks passing through the city. Traveling to and from the city by rail cannot be more convenient. There are even several high-speed trains shuttling daily between this city and major destinations such as Shanghai, Xian, Wuhan, Guangzhou and Harbin. In addition, there is inter-city high speed type to Tianjin, whose running time is about half an hour. However, the busy rail transportation in the city also makes it difficult to get tickets, especially during major holidays such as National Day and Spring Festival. Passengers are advised to buy tickets in advance during these time periods. This city has five railway stations: Beijing Railway Station, West Railway Station, South Railway Station, and North Railway Station.

Beijing is without a doubt the largest junction of major roads in China, with twelve national highways radiating to the northeast, southeast, southwest, and south, and eight main expressways surrounding the city, totaling 20,000 kilometers. Nineteen bus stations in Beijing operate thousands of buses every day to neighboring cities such as Datong, Chengde, and Tianjin, some departing hourly. Xianglong Zhaogongkou Long-Distance Bus Station is the largest one with good supporting facilities. Taking a long distance bus is a little more expensive than by train, but it is more convenient and less crowded. Travel China Guide suggests that long-distance travelers should not choose buses, but short bus journeys can be memorable experiences. Bus tickets can be purchased 3 to 5 days prior to your departure, upon your arrival at the station, or even after you board the bus, if it is out of season.

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