Beijing Subway

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Beijing Subway
Beijing Subway logo.svg
OwnerBeijing Municipal Government
Transit typeRapid transit
Number of lines22
Number of stations370 [a]
Daily ridership10.35 million (2017 daily avg.)[1]
13.49 million (17 August 2018 record)[2]
Annual ridership3.78 billion (2017)[1]
Began operation1 October 1969; 49 years ago (1969-10-01)
Operator(s)Beijing Mass Transit Railway Operation Corp., Ltd
Beijing MTR Corp. Ltd.
Beijing MTR Operation Administration Co., Ltd
Beijing Public Transit Tramway Co., Ltd.
Beijing Capital Metro Corp., Ltd.
Number of vehicles4946 Revenue Railcars[3]
System length608.2 km (377.9 mi)
(599.4 km (372.4 mi) if not counting Xijiao line)
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) (standard gauge)
Beijing Subway
Simplified Chinese北京地铁
Traditional Chinese北京地鐵

The Beijing Subway is a rapid transit rail network that serves the urban and suburban districts of Beijing municipality. The subway is the world's busiest in annual ridership,[4] with 3.78 billion trips delivered in 2017,[1] averaging 10.35 million per day,[1] with peak single-day ridership reaching 13.49 million.[2] The subway network has 22 lines, 370 stations[a] and 608.2 km (377.9 mi) (if not counting Xijiao line, the result is 599.4 km (372.4 mi)) of route length in operation,[5] and is the second longest subway system in the world after the Shanghai Metro.

The Beijing Subway opened in 1969 and is the oldest metro system in mainland China. Before the system underwent rapid expansion since 2002, it consisted of only two lines. The existing network still cannot adequately meet the city's mass transit needs. Beijing Subway's extensive expansion plans call for 998.5 km (620.4 mi)[6] of lines serving a projected 18.5 million trips every day by 2021.[7][8][9] The most recent expansion, which included a one stop extension of Fangshan Line and the opening of Xijiao Line, S1 Line and Yanfang Line came into effect on December 30, 2017. There are currently over 300 km (190 mi) of subway under construction in Beijing,[10] including six new fully automated lines totaling up to 300 km (190 mi) in length using domestically developed communications-based train control systems. This could potentially create the longest fully automated subway network in the world.[11]

The Beijing Subway is owned by the city of Beijing and has five operators. The main operator is the wholly state-owned Beijing Mass Transit Railway Operation Corp., which operates 15 lines: Lines 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 15, Batong line, Changping line, Fangshan line, Yizhuang line and S1 line.[12] The second operator is the Beijing MTR Corp., a public–private joint venture with the Hong Kong MTR and Beijing Capital Group, a state owned enterprise under the Beijing Municipality, which operates four lines: Line 4, Daxing line, Line 14 and Line 16.[13] There are three other operators: Beijing MTR Operation Administration which operates the Yanfang line, Beijing Public Transit Tramway which operates the Xijiao line, and Beijing Capital Metro which operates the Airport Express.


Distance-based fare[edit]

Distance-based fare schedule
Fare Trip distance
¥3 <6 km
¥4 6–12 km
¥5 12–22 km
¥6 22–32 km
¥7 32–52 km
¥8 52–72 km
¥9 72–92 km
¥10 92–112 km

The Beijing Subway switched from a fixed-fare to a distance-based fare schedule for all lines except the Airport Express on December 28, 2014.[14] Fares start at ¥3 for a trip up to 6 km in distance, with ¥1 added for the next 6 km, for every 10 km thereafter until the trip distance reaches 32 km, and for every 20 km beyond the first 32 km.[14] For example, a 40 km trip would cost ¥7. The Airport Express costs ¥25 per ride.[15] Children below 1.3 metres (51 in) in height ride for free when accompanied by a paying adult.[16] Senior citizens over the age of 65, individuals with physical disabilities, retired revolutionary cadres, police and army veterans who had been wounded in action, military personnel and People's Armed Police can ride the subway for free.[17] Riders can look up fares by checking fare schedules posted in stations, calling the subway hotline 96165, going to the Beijing Subway website, or using the subway's smartphone app.

Fare collection[edit]

Discounts for Yikatong card users
Net expenditure
after credit rebate
Net discount
¥50 ¥50 0%
¥100 ¥100 0%
¥150 ¥140 6.67%
¥200 ¥165 17.5%
¥250 ¥190 24%
¥300 ¥215 28.3%
¥350 ¥240 31.4%
¥400 ¥265 33.75%
¥450 ¥315 30%
¥500 ¥365 27%

Passengers must insert the ticket or scan the card at the gate both before entering and exiting the station. The subway's fare collection gates accept single-ride tickets and the Yikatong fare card. Passengers can purchase tickets and add credit to Yikatong card at ticket counters or vending machines in every station. The Yikatong, also known as Beijing Municipal Administration & Communication Card (BMAC), is an integrated circuit card that stores credit for the subway, urban and suburban buses and e-money for other purchases.[18] The Yikatong card itself must be purchased at the ticket counter. To enter a station, the Yikatong card must have a minimum balance of ¥3.00.[19]

Beijing Subway fare media
A single-ride farecard

To prevent fraud, passengers are required to complete their journeys within four hours upon entering the subway.[17] If the four-hour limit is exceeded, a surcharge of ¥3 is imposed.[20] Each Yikatong card is allowed to be overdrawn once. The overdrawn amount is deducted when credits are added to the card.[21]

Yikatong card users who spend more than ¥100 on subway fare in a calendar month will receive credits to their card the following month.[14] After reaching ¥100 of spending in one calendar month, 20% of any further spending up to ¥150 will be credited. When spending exceeds ¥150, 50% of any further spending up to ¥250 will be credited.[14] Once expenditures exceed ¥400, further spending will not earn any more credits.[14] The credits are designed to ease commuters' burdens of fare increases.[14]

Beginning in June 2017, single-journey tickets could be purchased via a phone app.[22] A May 2018 upgrade allowed entrance via scanning a QR code from the same app.[23]

Previous fare schedules[edit]

Prior to the December 28, 2014 fare increase, passengers paid a flat rate of RMB(¥) 2.00 (including unlimited fare-free transfers) for all lines except the Airport Express, which cost ¥25.[24] The flat fare was the lowest among metro systems in China.[25] Before the flat fare schedule was introduced on October 7, 2007, fares ranged from ¥3 to ¥7, depending on the line and number of transfers.


Beijing Subway lines generally follow the checkerboard layout of the city. Most lines through the urban core (outlined by the Line 10 loop) run parallel or perpendicular to each other and intersect at right angles. Line 14 is currently operating in two separate sections.

Line & Colour Terminals
(# above ground)
Transfers Operator
01 1  Pingguoyuan
Sihui East
1969 1999 30.4 23 (2)  2   4   5   9   10   14   Batong 
Beijing Subway icon.svg
02 2 
loop line
Beijing Railway Station (Dongcheng) 1971 1987 23.1 18  1   4   5   6   8   13   Airport 
Beijing Subway icon.svg
04 4 
Anheqiao North
2009 2010[b] 28.2 24 (1)  1   2   6   7   9   10   13   14   16   Daxing [b]
05 5  Tiantongyuan North
2007 27.6 23 (7)  1   2   6   7   10   13   14   15   Yizhuang 
Beijing Subway icon.svg
06 6  Haidian Wuluju
2012 2014 42.8 26[a]  2   4   5   8   9   10   14 
Beijing Subway icon.svg
07 7  Beijing West Railway Station
2014 23.7 19[a]  4   5   9   14 
Beijing Subway icon.svg
08 8  Zhuxinzhuang
2008 2013 26.6 17 (1)[a]  2   6   10   13   15   Changping 
Beijing Subway icon.svg
09 9  National Library
2011 2012 16.5 13  1   4   6   7   10   14   Fangshan 
Beijing Subway icon.svg
10 10 
loop line
2008 2013 57.1 45  1   4   5   6   8   9   13   14   Yizhuang   Xijiao   Airport 
Beijing Subway icon.svg
13 13  Xizhimen
2002 2003 40.9 16 (15)  2   4   5   8   10   15   Changping   Airport 
Beijing Subway icon.svg
14 14 
2013 2014 12.4 07 (2)[a]  9   10 
14 14 
Beijing South Railway Station
2014 2017 28.6 21[a]  1   4   5   6   7   10   15 
15 15  Qinghuadongluxikou
2010 2014 45.7 18 (4)[a]  5   8   13   14 
Beijing Subway icon.svg
16 16  Bei'anhe
2016 2017 19.6 10  4 
 Batong  Sihui
2003 18.9 13 (13)  1 
Beijing Subway icon.svg
 Changping  Changping Xishankou
2010 2015 32.0 12 (6)  8   13 
Beijing Subway icon.svg
2010 21.7 12 (1)  4 [b]
 Fangshan  Guogongzhuang
Yancun East
2010 2017 27 12 (10)  9   Yanfang 
Beijing Subway icon.svg
 Yanfang  Yancun East
2017 14.4 8 (8)  Fangshan 
 Yizhuang  Songjiazhuang
2010 23.3 13 (8)[a]  5   10 
Beijing Subway icon.svg
2017 8.25 7 (7) None
Beijing Subway icon.svg
 Airport  Dongzhimen
Terminal 2 (Chaoyang)
Terminal 3 (Shunyi)
2008 28.1 04 (1)  2   10   13 
Fragrant Hills
2017 8.8 6 (6)  10 
Total 608.2 370 (102)
Schematic map of Beijing Subway lines in operation. (Not to scale)
A Line 2 train
Line 2 platform at Xizhimen
Ticket entry gates at Yuanmingyuan Park station
Airport Express train


Future lines[edit]

The Beijing Subway is rapidly expanding and according to the master plan will reach 998.5 km (620.4 mi)[6] of lines by the end of 2021.[7] By then public transit mode share of motorized trips will reach 60%, with subway accounting for 62% of all public transit rides.[27]

At the start of 2017, there were more than 350 km (220 mi) of routes under construction.[28] The new lines will significantly expand the subway's coverage, especially south and west of the city. Line 14's two sections will be connected into an inverted L-shaped line that pivots in the southeast. Fangshan line will be extended to the Third Ring Road and be connected with Lines 10 and 16.[29]

A map showing Beijing subway lines in operation by the end of 2017 (solid lines) and subway lines then projected for completion before the end of 2021 (dashed lines). This map is not drawn to scale.

Details of future lines[edit]

Details of future lines
Line Phase & Section Terminals
Route Description Construction
Stations Status Refs
December 2018  6  Phase III Jin'anqiao Haidian Wuluju extends Line 6 to Shijingshan District 2014 10.29 6 Under trials (From September 20, 2018)[30]
 8  Phase II One-station extension to National Art Museum Nanluoguxiang National Art Museum 1 Under trials (From September 20, 2018)[31]
 8  Phase III South Section & Phase IV Zhushikou
Southern section of a north-south axis to Daxing District. 2013 16.4 13 Under trials (From September 20, 2018)[32] [33][34]
September 2019  New Airport  Caoqiao North Terminal of New Airport Connecting to Beijing Daxing International Airport 39.05 3 Under Construction [35][36][37][38][39]
2019  7  East extension Jiaohuachang Universal Studios 17.2 7 [36]
 14  Lize Section Beijing South Railway Station
Completes Line 14 4.3 4 [40]
 16  Xiyuan
Urban Section 2013 30.1 19 [41]
 Batong  South extension Tuqiao
Universal Studios 2017 4.2 2 [42]
 Fangshan  North extension Guogongzhuang
Fengyiqiao South
connects Fangshan Line to Line 10 and Line 16 2016 4.6 4 [43][44]
 S1  Jin'anqiao - Pingguoyuan section Jin'anqiao Pingguoyuan 1.2 1
 Airport  West extension Dongzhimen
Extension to Line 5 2015 1.9 1 [45][46]
2020  17  (R2) North section Future Science Park North Wangjing West 6 [47][48][36]
South section Shilihe Yizhuang Zhanqianqu South 6 [47][48][36]
 19  (R3) Phase I Xingong
North South express line 2015 22.4 10 [36]
 Yanfang  Branch Line Zhoukoudian Town
A branch off the main line that runs to Zhoukoudian 2017 6.1 3 [49][50]
2021  3  Phase I Dongsi Shitiao Caogezhuang North 2017 15
 8  Phase III North Section National Art Museum
Completes Line 8 2013 3 [51][52]
 12  Sijiqing Guanzhuangluxikou Following the North Third Ring Road 29.2 21 [36]
 17  (R2) Middle section Wangjing West Shilihe Completes Line 17 8 [47][48][36]
(Line 22)
Dongfeng Beiqiao Juhewan 71 12
 Changping  South extension Xi'erqi Jimenqiao 12.5 7
(CBD line)
Runs through the Central Business District 2017 6.5 8 [53][49]


In 2014, Beijing planning authorities assessed mass transit monorail lines for areas of the city in which subway construction or operation is difficult.[54] Straddle beam monorail trains have lower transport capacity and operating speed (60 km/h or 37 mph) than conventional subways, but are quieter to operate, have smaller turning radius and better climbing capability, and cost only one-third to one-half of subways to build.[54][55] According to the initial environmental assessment report by the Chinese Academy of Rail Sciences, a Yuquanlu Line was planned to have 21 stations over 25 km (16 mi) in western Beijing.[56] The line was to begin construction in 2014 and would take two years to complete.[54] A Dongsihuan Line (named for the Eastern Fourth Ring Road it was to follow) was planned to have 21 stations over 36 km (22 mi).[55][57] In early 2015, plans for both monorail lines were shelved indefinitely, due to low capacity and resident opposition.[58] Yuquanlu Line remain on the city's future transportation plan, and will be built as conventional below-ground subway line.

Line 28 (CBD line)[edit]

In August 2015, planning authorities proposed an underground automatic people mover (APM) line through the Central Business District (CBD).[59] The line will run 6.5 km (4.0 mi), have eight stations from Dongdaqiao on Line 6 & Line 17 to Dajiaoting on Line 7, and has been incorporated into the 2021 Subway Plan.[53] The CBD Line is also known as Line 28 and is expected to open no later than 2021.[49] The line has been upgraded from an Automatic People Mover to a conventional subway line.[49]


Schema showing the development of the Beijing Subway from 1971 to 2016

1953–1965: origins[edit]

The subway was proposed in September 1953 by the city's planning committee and experts from the Soviet Union.[60] After the end of the Korean War, Chinese leaders turned their attention to domestic reconstruction. They were keen to expand Beijing's mass transit capacity but also valued the subway as an asset for civil defense. They studied the use of the Moscow Metro to protect civilians, move troops and headquarter military command posts during the Battle of Moscow, and planned the Beijing Subway for both civilian and military use.[60]

The Chinese lacked expertise in building subways and drew heavily on Soviet and East German technical assistance. In 1954, a delegation of Soviet engineers, including some who had built the Moscow Metro, was invited to plan the subway in Beijing.[60] From 1953 to 1960, several thousand Chinese students were sent to the Soviet Union to study subway construction.[60] An early plan unveiled in 1957 called for one ring route and six other lines with 114 stations and 172 km (107 mi) of track.[60] Two routes vied for the first to be built. One ran east-west from Wukesong to Hongmiao, underneath Changan Avenue. The other ran north-south from the Summer Palace to Zhongshan Park, via Xizhimen and Xisi. The former was chosen due to more favorable geological foundation and greater number of government bureaus served. The second route would not be built until construction on Line 4 began forty years later.

The deterioration of relations between China and Soviet Union disrupted subway planning. Soviet experts began to leave in 1960, and were completely withdrawn by 1963.[61] In 1961, the entire project was halted temporarily due to severe hardships caused by the Great Leap Forward. Eventually, planning work resumed. The route of the initial line was shifted westward to create an underground conduit to move personnel from the heart of the capital to the Western Hills. On February 4, 1965, Chairman Mao Zedong personally approved the project.[62]

1965–1981: the slow beginning[edit]

Yuquanlu Station, Opened in August 5, 1971. The first phase of the Beijing subway project groundbreaking ceremony was held west of Yuquanlu Road.
Many areas of Beijing's city walls were torn down during the construction of the subway. The route of the initial subway line was slightly altered to save the Qianmen gate.

Construction began on July 1, 1965, at a ceremony attended by national leaders including Zhu De, Deng Xiaoping, and mayor Peng Zhen.[63] The most controversial outcome of the initial subway line was the demolition of the Beijing's historic inner city wall to make way for the subway. Construction plans for the subway from Fuxingmen to the Beijing Railway Station called for the removal of the wall, as well as the gates and archery towers at Hepingmen, Qianmen, and Chongwenmen. Leading architect Liang Sicheng argued for protecting the wall as a landmark of the ancient capital. Chairman Mao favored demolishing the wall over demolishing homes. In the end, Premier Zhou Enlai managed to preserve several walls and gates, such as the Qianmen gate and its arrow tower by slightly altering the course of the subway.[64]

Plans of the Beijing Subway network
1965 Plan
1973 Plan
1983 Plan
1993 Plan

The initial line was completed and began trial operations in time to mark the 20th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic on October 1, 1969.[62][65] It ran 21 km (13 mi) from the army barracks at Fushouling to the Beijing Railway Station and had 16 stations.[62] This line forms parts of present-day Lines 1 and 2. It was the first subway to be built in China, and predates the metros of Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., but technical problems would plague the project for the next decade.

Satellite image of the construction of initial line shot by US spy satellite Corona KH-4B on 20 September 1967.
Entrance to the Fushouling station, once designated terminus of Line 1 but never opened to the public.
Entrance to the Wukesong station on Line 1

Initially, the subway hosted guest visits.[62] On November 11, 1969, an electrical fire killed three people, injured over 100 and destroyed two cars.[62] Premier Zhou Enlai placed the subway under the control of the People's Liberation Army in early 1970, but reliability problems persisted.[62]

On January 15, 1971, the initial line began operation on a trial basis between the Beijing railway station and Gongzhufen.[66] Single ride fare was set at ¥0.10 and only members of the public with credential letters from their work units could purchase tickets.[66] The line was 10.7 km (6.6 mi) in length, had 10 stations and operated more than 60 train trips per day with a minimum wait time of 14 minutes.[66] On August 15, the initial line was extended to Yuquanlu and had 13 stations over 15.6 km (9.7 mi).[66] On November 7, the line was extended again, to Gucheng Lu, and had 16 stations over 22.87 km (14.21 mi).[66] The number of trains per day rose to 100. Overall, the line delivered 8.28 million rides in 1971, averaging 28,000 riders per day.[66]

From 1971 to 1975, the subway was shut down for 398 days for political reasons.[e] On December 27, 1972, the riders no longer needed to present credential letters to purchase tickets.[66] In 1972, the subway delivered 15 million rides and averaged 41,000 riders per day.[66] In 1973, the line was extended to Pingguoyuan and reached 23.6 km (14.7 mi) in length with 17 stations and 132 train trips per day.[66] The line delivered 11 million rides in 1973, averaging 54,000 riders per day.[66]

Despite its return to civilian control in 1976, the subway remained prone to closures due to fires, flooding, and accidents. Annual ridership grew from 22.2 million in 1976 and 28.4 million in 1977 to 30.9 million in 1978, and 55.2 million in 1980.[66]

1981–2000: two lines for two decades[edit]

On April 20, 1981, the Beijing Subway Company, then a subsidiary of the Beijing Public Transportation Company, was organized to take over subway operations.[67] On September 15, 1981, the initial line passed its final inspections, and was handed over to the Beijing Subway Company, ending a decade of trial operations.[67] It had 19 stations and ran 27.6 kilometres (17.1 miles) from Fushouling in the Western Hills to the Beijing railway station.[67] Investment in the project totaled ¥706 million. Annual ridership rose from 64.7 million in 1981 and 72.5 million in 1982 to 82 million in 1983.[67]

Paper tickets for Lines 1 & 2

On September 20, 1984, a second line was opened to the public.[67] This horseshoe-shaped line was created from the eastern half of the initial line and corresponds to the southern half of the present-day Line 2.[67] It ran 16.1 km (10.0 mi) from Fuxingmen to Jianguomen with 16 stations.[67] Ridership reached 105 million in 1985.[67]

Entrance to the Wangfujing Station on Line 1. The Wangfujing station opened in 1999 as part of Line 1's eastward extension from Fuxingmen.

On December 28, 1987, the two existing lines were reconfigured into Lines 1, which ran from Pingguoyuan to Fuxingmen and Line 2, in its current loop, tracing the Ming city wall.[67] Fares doubled to ¥0.20 for single-line rides and ¥0.30 for rides with transfers.[67] Ridership reached 307 million in 1988.[67] The subway was closed from June 3–4, 1989 during the suppression of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations. In 1990, the subway carried more than one million riders per day for the first time, as total ridership reached 381 million.[67] After a fare hike to ¥0.50 in 1991, annual ridership declined slightly to 371 million.

On January 26, 1991, planning began on the eastward extension of Line 1 under Chang'an Avenue from Fuxingmen.[68] The project was funded by a 19.2 billion yen low-interest development assistance loan from Japan.[68] Construction began on the eastern extension on June 24, 1992, and the Xidan station opened on December 12, 1992.[68] The remaining extension to Sihui East was completed on September 28, 1999.[69] National leaders Wen Jiabao, Jia Qinglin, Yu Zhengsheng and mayor Liu Qi were on hand to mark the occasion.[69] The full-length of Line 1 became operational on June 28, 2000.[70]

Despite little track expansion in the early 1990s, ridership grew rapidly to reach a record high of 558 million in 1995, but fell to 444 million the next year when fares rose from ¥0.50 to ¥2.00. After fares rose again to ¥3.00 in 2000, annual ridership fell to 434 million from 481 million in 1999.[70]

2001–2008: planning for the Olympics[edit]

In the summer of 2001, the city won the bid to host the 2008 Summer Olympics and accelerated plans to expand the subway. From 2002 to 2008, the city planned to invest ¥63.8 billion (US$7.69 billion) in subway projects and build an ambitious "three ring, four horizontal, five vertical and seven radial" subway network.[71] Work on Line 5 had already begun on September 25, 2000.[72] Land clearing for Lines 4 and 10 began in November 2003 and construction commenced by the end of the year.[73] Most new subway construction projects were funded by loans from the Big Four state banks. Line 4 was funded by the Beijing MTR Corporation, a joint-venture with the Hong Kong MTR.[74] To achieve plans for 19 lines and 561 km (349 mi) by 2015, the city planned to invest a total of ¥200 billion ($29.2 billion).[75]

Line 13 train between Wudaokou and Shangdi
Line 13 station at Longze. Line 13 opened in two parts in 2002 and 2003.
A model SFX01 Batong line train at Shuangqiao. The Batong line opened in Dec. 2003

The next additions to the subway were surface commuter lines that linked to the north and east of the city. Line 13, a half loop that links the northern suburbs, first opened on the western half from Huilongguan to Xizhimen on September 28, 2002 and the entire line became operational on January 28, 2003.[76] Batong line, built as an extension to Line 1 to Tongzhou District, was opened as a separate line on December 27, 2003.[77] Work on these two lines had begun respectively in December 1999 and 2000.[78] Ridership hit 607 million in 2004.

Line 5 came into operation on October 7, 2007. It was the city's first north-south line, extending from Songjiazhuang in the south to Tiantongyuan in the north. On the same day, subway fares were reduced from between ¥3 and ¥7 per trip, depending on the line and number of transfers, to a single flat fare of ¥2 with unlimited transfers. The lower fare policy caused the Beijing Subway to run a deficit of ¥600 million in 2007, which was expected to widen to ¥1 billion in 2008.[75] The Beijing municipal government covered these deficits to encourage mass transit use, and reduce traffic congestion and air pollution. On a total of 655 million rides delivered in 2007, the government's subsidy averaged ¥0.92 per ride.[79]

Elevated Line 5 station and platform at Tiantongyuan. Line 5 opened on Oct. 7, 2007.
Beitucheng station for Lines 8 and 10, which along with the Airport Express, opened on July 19, 2008.
Each of the four original stations on the Olympic Branch Line (Line 8) has a unique interior decor style. (Pictured: South Gate of Forest Park)

In the summer of 2008, in anticipation of the Summer Olympic Games, three new lines—Line 10, the Olympic Branch Line and the Airport Express—opened on July 19 for trial operation.[80] The use of paper tickets, hand checked by clerks for 38 years, was discontinued and replaced by electronic tickets that are scanned by automatic fare collection machines upon entry and exit of the subway. Stations are outfitted with touch screen vending machines that sell single-ride tickets and multiple-ride Yikatong fare cards. The subway set a daily ridership record of 4.92 million on August 22, 2008, the day of the Games' closing ceremony[81] In 2008, total ridership rose by 75% to 1.2 billion.[82]

2008–present: rapid expansion[edit]

After the Chinese government announced a ¥4 trillion economic stimulus package in November 2008, the Beijing urban planning commission further expedited subway building plans, especially for elevated lines to suburban districts that are cheaper to build. In December 2008, the commission moved completion dates of the Yizhuang and Daxing Lines to 2010 from 2012, finalized the route of the Fangshan Line, and unveiled the Changping and Xijiao Lines.[83]

All stations built since 2007 have platform doors, including the Weigongcun station on Line 4, which opened September 28, 2009.
Entrance D to Xisi station on Line 4. Each station entrance has an entrance label
Tracks north of Xihongmen Station on the Daxing Line
Elevated viaduct on the Fangshan Line

Line 4 started operation on September 28, 2009, bringing subway service to much of western Beijing.[84] It is managed by the MTR Corporation through a joint venture with the city. In 2009, the subway delivered 1.457 billion rides,[85] 19.24% of mass transit trips in Beijing.[86]

The Xi'erqi interchange for Lines 13 and Changping
Shahe station on the Changping line
Changyang station on the Fangshan line
Yizhuang Culture Park station on the Yizhuang Line
On December 30, 2010, Lines 15, Changping, Fangshan, Yizhuang and Daxing, all suburban lines, commenced operation.

In 2010, Beijing's worsening traffic congestion prompted city planners to move the construction of several lines from the 13th Five Year Plan to the 12th Five Year Plan. This meant Lines 8 (Phase III), 3, 12, 16, the Yanfang Line, as well as additional lines to suburban districts of Changping, Tiantongyuan, and Haidian were to begin construction before 2015.[87] Previously, Lines 3, 11, 12 and 16 were being planned for the more distant future.[88][89] On December 30, 2010, five suburban lines: Lines 15 (Phase I from Wangjing West to Houshayu except Wangjing East station), Changping, Fangshan (except Guogongzhuang station), Yizhuang (except Yizhuang railway station), and Daxing, commenced operation.[90] The addition of 108 km (67 mi) of track, a nearly 50% increase, made the subway the fourth longest metro in the world. One year later, on December 31, 2011, the subway surpassed the New York City Subway to become the third longest metro in revenue track length with the extension of Line 8 north from the Olympic Green to Huilongguan, the opening of Line 9 in southwest Beijing from Beijing West railway station to Guogongzhuang (except Fengtai Dongdajie station, which opened on October 12, 2012), the extension of the Fangshan Line to Guogongzhuang, and the extension of Line 15 from Houshayu to Fengbo in central Shunyi.[91] In the same year, the Beijing government unveiled an ambitious expansion plan envisioning the subway network to reach a track density of 0.51 km per km2 (0.82 mi per sq. mi.) inside the Fifth Ring Road where residents would on average have to walk 1 km (0.62 mi) to the nearest subway station.[92] Ridership reached 2.18 billion in 2011.

Nanluoguxiang station on Line 6 blends into the traditional courtyard neighborhood of central Beijing.
Line 8’s concourse in Guloudajie station with drum-shaped lights inspired by nearby Drum Tower.
Interior décor of Beihai North station evokes the white stupa of Beihai Park.
Mural in Chaoyangmen station depicting the shipment of grain from the Grand Canal to the granaries inside Chaoyangmen during imperial times.
Beijing Television interviewed subway officials on December 30, 2012, when over 40 new stations were open, and the subway temporarily surpassed the Shanghai Metro to be the longest in the world, only to be surpassed by Shanghai again a year later.

In February 2012, the city government confirmed that Lines 3, 12, 17 (also known as R2), 19 (also known as R3), and R1 were under planning as part of Phase II expansion.[93][94] Retroactively implying that the original three ring, four horizontal, five vertical and seven radial plan was part of Phase I expansion. Line 17 was planned to run north-south, parallel and to the east of Line 5, from Future Technology City to Yizhuang.[47] Line 19 was planned to run north-south, between Lines 16 and 4.[95]

On December 30, 2012, Line 6 (Phase I from Haidian Wuluju to Caofang), the extension of Line 8 from Beitucheng south to Guloudajie (except Andelibeijie), the remainder of Line 9 (except Military Museum station) and the remainder of the Line 10 loop (except the Xiju-Shoujingmao section and Jiaomen East station) entered service. The addition of 69.8 km (43 mi) of track increased the network length to 442 km (275 mi) and allowed the subway to overtake the Shanghai Metro, for several months, as the world’s longest metro.[96] The subway delivered 2.46 billion rides in 2012.[97]

On May 5, 2013, the Line 10 loop was completed with the opening of the Xiju-Shoujingmao section and the Jiaomen East Station.[98] The 57 km (35 mi) loop line became the longest underground subway loop in the world.[98] On the same day, the first section of Line 14 from Zhangguozhuang to Xiju also entered operation, ahead of the opening of the Ninth China International Garden Expo in Fengtai District.[98] The subway's total length reached 456 km (283 mi).[98] On December 28, 2013, two sections were added to Line 8, which extended the line north to Zhuxinzhuang and south to Nanluoguxiang.[99] In 2013, the subway delivered 3.209 billion rides, an increase of 30% from the year before.[100]

On December 28, 2014, the subway network expanded by 62.2 km (38.6 mi) to 18 lines and 527 km (327 mi) with the opening of Line 7, the eastern extension of line 6 (from Caofang to Lucheng), the eastern section of line 14 (from Jintailu to Shangezhuang), and the western extension of line 15 (from Wangjing West to Qinghuadongluxikou).[101][102] At the same time, the ¥2 flat-rate fare was replaced with a variable-rate fare (a minimum of ¥3), to cover operation costs.[103][103] In 2014, the subway delivered 3.387 billion rides, an increase of 5.68% from the year before.[3] Average daily and weekday ridership also set new highs of 9.2786 million and 10.0876 million, respectively.[104]

From 2007 to 2014, the cost of subway construction in Beijing rose sharply from ¥0.571 billion per km to ¥1.007 billion per km.[105][106] The cost includes land acquisition, compensation to relocate residents and firms, actual construction costs and equipment purchase. In 2014, city budgeted ¥15.5 billion for subway construction, and the remainder of subway building costs was financed by the Beijing Infrastructure Investment Co. LTD, a city-owned investment firm.[105]

On December 26, 2015, the subway network expanded to 554 km (344 mi) with the opening of the section of Line 14 from Beijing South railway station to Jintailu (11 stations; 16.6 km (10.3 mi)), Phase II of the Changping line from Nanshao to Changping Xishankou (5 stations; 10.6 km or 6.6 mi), Andelibeijie station on Line 8, and Datunlu East station on Line 15.[107] Ridership in 2015 fell by 4% to 3.25 billion due to a fare increase from a flat fare back to a distance based fare.[3]

With the near completion of the three ring, four horizontal, five vertical and seven radial subway network, work began on Phase II expansion projects. These new extensions and lines will be operational in 2019~2021.[10] On December 9, 2016, construction started on 126 km (78 mi) of new line with the southern extension of Batong Line, the southern extension of Changping line, the Pinggu line, phase one of the New Airport line, and Line 3 Phase I breaking ground.[108] The northern section of Line 16 opened on December 31, 2016. Ridership reached a new high of 3.66 billion.[109]On December 30, 2017, a one-stop extension of Fangshan Line (Suzhuang-Yancun East), Yanfang line, Xijiao line and S1 line opened.


Average Daily Ridership
Yearriders±% p.a.
Yearriders±% p.a.
Yearriders±% p.a.
Yearriders±% p.a.
Source: 北京地铁大事记回顾 1965-2006 • 北京市2010年暨"十一五"期间国民经济和社会发展统计公报 • 北京市2011年国民经济和社会发展统计公报 • 北京市2012年国民经济和社会发展统计公报 • 北京市2013年国民经济和社会发展统计公报[104][109]

Rolling stock[edit]

All subway trains run on 1,435 millimetres (56.5 in) standard gauge rail and draw power from the 750 V DC third rail, with the exception of trains on Lines 6 and 14, which use overhead wires. All lines operate 6-car train sets with a maximum speed of 80 km/h (50 mph), except Lines 6 and 7, which use 8-car sets that can reach 100 km/h (62 mph), and the Airport Express, which has 4-car sets with a maximum speed of 110 km/h (68 mph).[110][111] Line 14 trains feature wide-bodied Type-A cars that have a designed capacity of 430 passengers per car, 30% greater than Type-B cars with 310 passengers per car.[112] Type-B cars are used on all other lines except the Airport Express, whose cars can seat 230 passengers.

Most Beijing Subway rolling stock, such as this DKZ5 Line 13 train, draw power from the third rail.
Line 6 and 14 trains (pictured above) draw power from overhead electrical lines.
Subway rolling stock are maintained at depots such as the Wuliqiao Depot for Line 6.

Until 2003 nearly all trains were manufactured by the Changchun Railway Vehicles Company Ltd., now a subsidiary of the China CNR Corporation.[113] Currently, all trains on Lines 2, 5, 8, 10, 13, Airport Express and older models on Line 1 are made by Changchun RVC, which is under contract to supply trains for Lines Yizhuang, 9 and 10 (Phase II).[111][114] The newest Line 1 trains and those on Lines 4, 8, Batong, Changping and Daxing are made by Qingdao Sifang Locomotive & Rolling Stock Co., a subsidiary of China South Locomotive and Rolling Stock Industry Corp..[115][116]

The Beijing Subway Rolling Stock Equipment Co. Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Beijing Mass Transit Railway Operation Corp. Ltd., provides local assemblage, maintenance and repair services.

System upgrades[edit]


Queuing barriers outside the Beijing Railway Station are used to restrict the flow of passengers into the subway at peak times.

With new lines drawing more riders to the network, the subway has experienced severe overcrowding, especially during the rush hour.[117] As of 2015, significant sections of Lines 1, 4 - Daxing, 5, 10,[118] 13, Batong and Changping are officially over capacity during rush hour.[119] In short term response, the subway upgraded electrical, signal and yard equipment to increase the frequency of trains to add additional capacity. Peak headways has been reduced to 1 min. 43 sec. on Line 4;[120] 2 min. on Lines 1,[121] 2, 5[122] and 10;[123][124][125] 2 min. 27 sec. on Line 6;[126] 2 min. 40 sec. on Line 13;[122] 3 min. on Batong; 3 min. 30 sec. on Line 8;[127] and 15 min. on the Airport Express.[128]

A crowded transfer corridor on Line 10.

Lines 13 and Batong have converted 4-car to 6-car trains.[129][130] Lines 6[131] and 7 have longer platforms that can accommodate 8-car type B trains,[132] while lines 14 and 16 uses higher capacity wide-body type A trains.[133][134][135] New lines that cross the city center such as Lines 3, 11, 12, 17 and 19, now under construction, will adopt high capacity 8-car type A trains with a 70 percent increase in capacity over older lines using 6 car type B.[131][136] When completed these lines are expected to greatly relieve overcrowding in the existing network.

The articulated cars of Line 5 trains have greater carrying capacity.

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.[137] Some of these stations have built queuing lines outside the stations to manage the flow of waiting passengers.[138] As of August 31, 2011, 25 stations mainly on Lines 1, 5, 13, and Batong have imposed such restrictions.[139] By January 7, 2013, 41 stations on Lines 1, 2, 5, 13, Batong, and Changping had instituted passenger flow restrictions during the morning rush hour.[140] The number of stations with passenger flow restrictions reached 96 in January 2018, affecting all lines except Lines 15, 16, Fangshan, Yanfang and S1.[141]


At Wangjing West, an interchange station for Lines 13 and 15, passengers transferring between the two lines must pass through a lengthy transfer corridor that includes a pedestrian footbridge.

Interchange stations that permit transfers across two or more subway lines receive heavy traffic passenger flow. The older interchange stations are known for lengthy transfer corridors and slow transfers during peak hours. The average transfer distance at older interchange stations is 128 m (420 ft)[142] The transfer between Lines 2 and 13 at Xizhimen was over 200 m (660 ft) long and required 15 minutes to complete during rush hours.[143] In 2011, this station was rebuilt to reduce the transfer distance.[144] There are plans to rebuild other interchange stations such as Dongzhimen.[142]

In newer interchange stations, which are designed to permit more efficient transfers, the average transfer distance is 63 m (207 ft).[142] Many of the newer interchange stations including Guogongzhuang (Lines 9 and Fangshan), Nanluoguxiang (Lines 8 and 6), Zhuxinzhuang (Changping and Line 8), Beijing West Railway Station (Lines 9 and 7), and National Library (Lines 9 and 4) feature cross platform transfers.[145] Nevertheless, longer transfer corridors must still be used when the alignment of the lines do not permit cross-platform transfer.[146] The transfer corridors between Lines 1 and 9 at the Military Museum, which opened on December 23, 2013, are 160 m (520 ft) in one direction and just under 300 m (980 ft) in the other.[147]

Cellular network coverage[edit]

Mobile phones can currently be used throughout, except in the tunnels between stations on Lines 1 and 2. There are plans for all lines and stations to have cellular coverage.[148]


Each station is equipped with ramps, lifts, or elevators to facilitate wheelchair access.[149][150] Newer model train cars now provide space to accommodate wheelchairs.[151] Automated audio announcements for incoming trains are available in all lines except for Line 1. On all lines, station names are announced in Mandarin Chinese and English. Under subway regulations, riders with mobility limitations may obtain assistance from subway staff to enter and exit stations and trains, and visually impaired riders may bring assistance devices and guide dogs into the subway.[152]

Information hotline and app[edit]

The Beijing Subway telephone hotline was initiated on the eve of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games to provide traveler information, receive complaints and suggestions, and file lost and found reports.[153] The hotline combined the nine public service telephones of various subway departments.[154] On December 29, 2013, the hotline number was switched from (010)-6834-5678 to (010)-96165 for abbreviated dialing.[155] In December 2014, the hotline began offering fare information, as the subway switched to distance-based fare.[15] The hotline has staffed service from 5 am to midnight and has automated service during unstaffed hours.[153]

The Beijing Subway has an official mobile application and a number of third-party apps.

Automatic fare collection[edit]

Each station has two to 15 ticket vending machines.[156] Ticket vending machines on all lines can add credit to Yikatong cards.[157]


Security check[edit]

Since the 2008 Olympics, security checks of riders and bags have become mandatory on the Beijing Subway.

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.[158] The security program was reinstituted during the 2009 New Year Holiday[159] and has since been made permanent through regulations enacted in February 2009.[160]

Emergency planning[edit]

After witnessing several serious subway accidents in South Korea (e.g. Daegu subway fire in February 2003), the subway removed all shops and vendors from the inside of stations and installed self-illuminating exit signs to facilitate emergency evacuation. The popular underground mall at Xidan station was closed.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

The subway was plagued by numerous accidents in its early years, including a fire in 1969 that killed six people and injured over 200.[161] But its operations have improved dramatically and there have been few reported accidents in recent years. Most of the reported fatalities on the subway are the result of suicides.[162] Authorities have responded by installing doors on platforms of newer lines.

There have been several reported fatal incidents at subway construction sites in recent years. On October 8, 2003, the collapse of steel beams at the construction site of Line 5's Chongwenmen station killed three workers and injured one.[163] On March 29, 2007, the construction site at the Suzhoujie station on Line 10 collapsed, burying six workers. On June 6, 2008, prior to the opening of Line 10, a worker was crushed to death inside an escalator in Zhichunlu station when an intern turned on the moving staircase.[164] On July 14, 2010, two workers were killed and eight were injured at the construction site of Line 15's Shunyi station when the steel support structure collapsed on them.[165] On September 17, 2010, Line 9 tunnels under construction beneath Yuyuantan Lake were flooded, killing one worker.[166] A city official who oversaw waterworks contracts at the site was convicted of corruption and given a death sentence with reprieve.[166] On June 1, 2011, one worker was killed when a section of Line 6 under construction in Xicheng District near Ping'anli collapsed.[167] A collapse of an escalator at the Beijing Zoo Station on July 5, 2011, caused the death of one 13-year-old boy and injuries to 28 others.[168]

On July 19, 2012, a man was fatally shot at Hujialou station by a sniper from the Beijing Special Weapons and Tactics Unit after taking a subway worker hostage.[169]

On May 4, 2013, a train derailed when it overran a section of track on Line 4. The section was not open to the public and was undergoing testing. There were no injuries.[170]

On November 6, 2014, a woman was killed when she tried to board the train at Huixinxijie Nankou station on Beijing Subway's Line 5. She became trapped between the train door and the platform edge door and was crushed to death by the departing train. The accident happened on the second day of APEC China 2014 meetings in the city during which the municipal government has banned cars from the roads on alternate days to ease congestion and reduce pollution during the summit – measures which the capital’s transport authorities have estimated would lead to an extra one million passengers on the subway every day.[171]

Subway culture[edit]


The logo of the Beijing Subway contains the subway's abbreviation, B.G.D.

The subway's logo, a capital letter "G" encircling a capital letter "D" with the letter "B" silhouetted inside the letter D, was designed by Zhang Lide, a subway employee, and officially designated in April 1984.[172] The letters B, G, and D form the pinyin abbreviation for "北京高速电车" (pinyin: Běijīng gāosù diànchē; literally: "Beijing high-speed electric carriage").

Subway Culture Park[edit]

A decommissioned Line 1 car in the Beijing Subway Culture Park

The Beijing Subway Culture Park, located near Xihongmen in Daxing District, opened in 2010 to commemorate the 40-year history of the Beijing Subway.[173] The 19 ha (47 acres) park was built using dirt and debris removed from the construction of the Daxing Line and contains old rolling stock, sculpture, and informational displays.[173] Admission to the park is free.

Beijing Suburban Railway[edit]

The Beijing Suburban Railway, a suburban commuter train service, is managed separately from the Beijing Subway. The two systems, although complementary, are not related to each other operationally. Beijing Suburban Railway is run as part of the Beijing Railway Bureau.

There are 3 suburban railway lines currently in operation: Line S2, Sub-Central line and Huairou–Miyun line.

See also[edit]


Diagram showing distinct line labels for the Daxing Line and Line 4 with continuous train service
  • a. ^ Transfer stations are counted more than once. If transfer stations are counted only once, the result will be 311 stations.
    The following stations haven't been opened and not included in the station count: Erligou, Tongyunmen and Beiyunhe East on Line 6; Shuangjing and Fatou on Line 7; Taoranqiao and Gaojiayuan on Line 14.
  • b. ^ With the opening of the Daxing Line on December 30, 2010 the Beijing MTR Corporation operates service on Lines 4 and Daxing as follows:[174][175]
    • A loop that covers both lines, from Anheqiao North, the northern terminus of Line 4, to Tiangongyuan, the southern terminus of the Daxing Line.
    • A loop that covers Line 4 plus one stop on the Daxing Line, from Anheqiao North to Xingong, the northernmost stop on the Daxing Line. Travelers wishing to proceed further south on the Daxing Line have to switch to a south-bound full-route train.
  • c. ^ The subway operated throughout the night from Aug. 8-9, 2008 to accommodate the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympic Games, and is extending evening operations of all lines by one to three hours (to 1-2 a.m.) through the duration of the Games.[176]
  • d. ^ There is no subway stop at the 12th gate, Deshengmen, between Jishuitan Station and Gulou Dajie Station.
  • e. ^ From August 12, 1973 to June 30, 1974 and in January 1975, the subway was closed due to defense mobilization.[177] It was closed from September 13 to November 6, 1971 in the aftermath of the Lin Biao incident and on September 18, 1976 after the death of Chairman Mao.[177]
  • f. ^ As of December 26, 2015, Line 14 has two sections in operation—from Zhangguozhuang to Xiju in the west and Beijing South Railway Station to Shangezhuang in the east. The two sections operate separately but will eventually be connected and is therefore counted as a single line.


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External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°54′50″N 116°23′30″E / 39.9138°N 116.3916°E / 39.9138; 116.3916