What is the transportation like in Beijing?

April 18, 2010 | Posted by Chris


The ring roads of Beijing, visible above.

The transportation system in Beijing is generally very modern and convenient, if at times extremely crowded. Buses and subways dominate the daily commutes of local Beijingers, and for visitors and locals with more money to spend, taxis are clean, generally trustworthy, and ubiquitous.

Innumerable bus lines crisscross the grid of Beijing streets, and presently there are 8 different subway lines, with at least 14 more expected to be completed by 2015. A convenient feature of the Beijing transportation system is the rechargeable blue metro card that anyone can obtain with a deposit of a few dollars. Armed with only this card, anybody can instantly pay subway, bus, and increasingly, taxi fares.

A map of Beijing's current subway lines can be found here; lines planned to open by 2015 can be found here.

For drivers, Beijing is dominated by the "ring road" system, which is exactly what it sounds like: a series of ring roads extending outwards from the city's urban center. The second ring (there is no first) traces the periphery of the old walled city, and the outer-most 6th ring road traverses countryside that soon turns into rural Hebei Province. The ring roads can be seen to the right.

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