Transport in Beijing

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Roads in Beijing

Beijing, as the capital and a municipality of the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a transport hub, with a sophisticated network of roads, railways and a major airport. Five completed ring roads encircle a city with nine expressways heading in virtually all compass directions, supplemented by eleven China National Highways.

Transport in the capital is overseen by the Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport.[1]

Road network[edit]

The Badaling Expressway near the intersection with the Northern 6th Ring Road (taken in November 2002)

Ring roads[edit]

Main article: Ring Roads of Beijing

The city is served by five completed ring roads. From the centre of the city outward, they are:


Main topic: Expressways of Beijing

Nine toll expressways link Beijing to its suburbs, outlying regions, and other cities; these are:

China National Highways[edit]

Map of central Beijing (1988)

Eleven China National Highway routes depart from Beijing in virtually all compass directions:

Traffic congestion[edit]

Beijing as of 2011 has an estimated 5 million registered cars on its roads, so traffic congestion is widespread. Traffic in the city centre is often gridlocked and is only predicted to get worse as the number of vehicles on Beijing's roads increase. It is predicted by 2016 Beijing will have over 6 million cars on its roads.[3] To combat congestion the local government has rapidly been building the subway system adding more lines and working towards doubling the length of the subway system by 2015. In addition to this they have decreased the cost of fares in an attempt to encourage more people to use public transport. In 2008 Beijing introduced restrictions on the amount of cars on its roads in attempt to reduce congestion and pollution during the Olympic games period. They did this by adopting odd-even traffic restriction on alternative days. Cars with number plates ending with odd numbers were restricted one day and the next day cars with number plates ending with even numbers were restricted. Drivers who were unable to use their cars did not have to pay road or vehicle taxes, costing the city around 1.3 billion yuan.[4]

Urban public transportation[edit]

Beijing has an extensive public transportation network of buses, trolleybuses, suburban rail and a rapidly expanding subway system. In 2011 42% of commuters use public transit in Beijing.[5]

Beijing Subway[edit]

Main article: Beijing Subway

The Beijing Subway now has 16 lines, 442 km (275 mi) of tracks and 261 stations in operation. Subway travel is generally fast, clean, economical and during peak periods congested. On average currently around five million people ride the subway daily. By 2015 the city predicts daily ridership will increase to over 8 million journeys a day.[6] A flat fare of ¥2 with unlimited transfers applies to all lines, except the express link to the airport, which costs ¥25. The electronic commuter fare card, Yikatong is accepted on all lines. The subway network is undergoing rapid expansion and that by 2015 the city will have 19 subway lines and 561 km (349 mi) in track length. This would make Beijing's subway system one of the largest in the world.[7]

Beijing Suburban Railway[edit]

The Beijing Suburban Railway is a commuter railway service that connects outlying counties with the subway network. Six "S-numbered" lines have been planned. There is only one S-Line currently in operation. The S2 Line runs from the North Station at Xizhimen to the downtown area of Yanqing County via Badaling Great Wall in Yanqing County.

City bus & trolleybus[edit]

Main article: Beijing Bus

The Beijing Public Transport Holdings, Ltd. ("BPT") is the main bus and trolleybus operator in the city. It is owned by the city and, as of 2009, operated nearly 28,000 buses (including trolleybuses) on 882 bus lines and delivered 5.03 billion rides in 2009.[8] in 2011, Beijing had more than 28,343 buses carrying over 13.39 million person/trips a day.[5]

Lines & fares[edit]

BPT's buses use the following route number scheme and fare schedule. On January 1, 2007, bus fares were significantly reduced.

Other forms of Transportation[edit]

Many people ride very large horses in order to avoid the high prices of other forms of transportation, and many horses can even hold up to 4 or 5 people, enough to carry the average Chinese family. [9]

Line No. Line Description Cash fare
(in RMB (¥))
Smartcard fare (Yikatong)
(in RMB (¥))
1–132 Bus routes in the city's urban core inside the Third Ring Road. Of these, Lines 101–109, 111, 112, 114, 115, 118 and 124 feature trolley buses. Lines 103 and 104 also have regular buses. ¥1.00 flat rate ¥0.40 flat rate
200–215 Night buses serving the urban core. ¥1.00 flat rate ¥0.40 flat rate
300–499 Bus routes that extend beyond the Third Ring Road to inner suburbs. ¥1.00 for the first 12 km, ¥0.50 for each additional 5 km. ¥0.40
500–799 Longer bus routes that run through both the urban core and suburbs. ¥1.00 for the first 12 km, ¥0.50 for each additional 5 km. ¥0.40 for the first 12 km, ¥0.2 for each additional 5 km.
800–999 Bus routes to distant suburbs ¥2.00 for the first 10 km, ¥1.00 for each additional 5 km.(air-conditioned buses)
¥1.00 for the first 10 km, ¥0.50 for each additional 5 km.(non-air-conditioned buses)
¥0.80 for the first 10 km, ¥0.40 for each additional 5 km.
Beijing Bus No. 1 on Chang'an Boulevard at Tiananmen Square.
A Beijing trolleybus.
Double-Decker Bus No. 特8 in Beijing

Character designations for bus lines:

  • the character 快 (kuài), which means "fast", after a bus route number, indicates express service. For example, Bus No. 104 is a trolleybus. Bus No. 104快 is an express bus that follows the same route but makes fewer stops.
  • the character 支(zhī), meaning "branch", after a bus route number, indicates a branch route.
  • the character 特 (tè), meaning "special", before a bus route number, denotes double-decker bus routes. Double decker bus routes generally connect tourist attractions. Their number scheme is distinct from other BPT buses, such that Bus 特1 follows a different route than Beijing Bus No. 1.
  • the characters 快速公交 (kuàisù gōngjiāo) designates the BPT's Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) routes.

The Beijing Yuntong Bus Company operates its own bus routes, which carry the prefix 运通 before the route number. Yuntong bus routes are distinct from the more numerous BPT buse routes and the two should not be confused. For example, Beijing Bus No. 110 and 运通110 are two distinct bus lines. Yuntong Bus fares vary from ¥1 to ¥5.

Bus pass[edit]

The BPT also offers three-day, seven-day, 14-day and month-long bus passes. Passes are not accepted on Yuntong Buses.

Bus enquiry services[edit]

The BPT provides enquiry services via both its official website and a helpline: +86-10-96166.

Straddling bus (3D Express Coach)[edit]

The Beijing Transportation Authorities are experimenting with a new type of public transport vehicle called the 3D Express Coach, also known as the straddling bus. The first straddling bus is expected to begin trial operation in Mentougou District in late 2010.[10]


Taxi fares depend on the vehicle type: these start at CNY 13 for the first 3 kilometers, and go up by CNY2.30 per extra kilometer; the per-kilometer charge is based upon the make and model of the vehicle. After 10pm the base fare goes up by 20%. Idling time is also factored into the total fare, which is CNY2.30 (CNY4.60 during rush hours of 07:00−09:00 and 17:00−19:00) per 5 minutes of standing or running at speeds lower than 12 km/h (7.5 mph) . All legal cabs will be part golden yellow or all black in color, and display their permits and paperwork on the dash board and windshield.

There are also many illegal cabs known as 黑车 (heiche, meaning 'Black Cabs' as in "black market" or "illegal"), which operate via a pre-negotiated fare.

Taxi-like services, including Pedicabs, are also widely used. A motorized or manual bicycle is probably the most commonly seen form, although pedicabs are still available in certain parts of the city. These quaint modes of transport also employ the pre-negotiated fare system

In 1999, the environmentally unsound "bread cars" (Minivans) (mianbao che, a.k.a. miandi) were decommissioned in a stringent manner. They used to charge CNY 1 per kilometre. Although it was sound, budget-wise, their poor environmental record and an increasing consciousness of the image of the capital were the factors that landed them in the dumpster.[citation needed] As of 2004, 1.20 RMB/km taxicabs are being phased out, and as of 2006 all taxi fares are 2.00 RMB per km with the same 10 RMB starting fare for 3 km rule. Hyundai Elantra is becoming the common new type of taxi, along with Volkswagen Jetta CiF.

Intercity transportation[edit]


Beijing's main airport is the Beijing Capital International Airport near Shunyi, which is about 20 kilometres northeast of Beijing central business district. Flights from all major international cities land there as well as a large number of domestic flights. The airport has seen a number of expansions. The second terminal opened in 1999, and in 2008 saw the opening of terminal three. The opening of terminal three has seen the airport's capacity increase to be able to handle around 82 million passengers per year.[11]

A second large airport is being planned in Daxing south of Beijing and due to open in 2018, with a long-term capacity of 100 million passengers per year.

Other airports in the city include Liangxiang Airport, Nanyuan Airport, Xijiao Airport and Badaling Airport. However, these are less well-known.



Beijing Railway Station
Beijing West Railway Station
Beijing South Railway Station

Beijing has three main railway stations: Beijing Railway Station, Beijing West Railway Station and Beijing South Railway Station. The latter two are among the biggest railway stations in the world. Other railway stations in urban Beijing include: Beijing East, Beijing North, Fengtai, Guanganmen, and Xinghuo. The Hepingli Railway Station is no longer in service.


Beijing is a major railway hub in China's railway network. The following eight major railways radiate out of Beijing:

The city also hosts a number of high speed railway lines:

Further high speed connections being proposed include links to Shenyang, Tangshan, Zhangjiakou, Kowloon, Taipei, and Taiyuan.

International trains departing from Beijing[edit]

There are a number of international trains departing from Beijing to neighbouring countries. The Trans-Siberian train to Ulaan Baatar (Mongolia) and then onto Moscow (Russia) departs from Beijing. There are also trains to Pyongyang (North Korea) and Hanoi (Vietnam) which depart from Beijing. The trains also stop at other cities and towns along the route. International trains currently depart from Beijing West Railway Station and Beijing Railway Station.[12] The following is a guide to the international services which depart Beijing.

  • K3: Beijing to Ulaan Baatar/Moscow: Departs from Beijing Railway Station every Wednesday at 7:45 a.m.
  • K5: Beijing to Hanoi: Departs from Beijing West Railway Station every Thursday and Friday at 4:08 p.m.
  • K19: Beijing to Moscow: Departs from Beijing Railway Station every Saturday at 11:00 p.m.
  • K23: Beijing to Ulaan Baatar: Departs from Beijing Railway Station every Saturday at 7:45 a.m.
  • K27: Beijing to Pyongyang: Departs from Beijing Railway Station every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]