Discussion » Beijing Life » Public Transportation?

  • Jeromy
    Jeromy wrote:
    <p>In Houston, Texas if you don't have a car... you're screwed.</p> <p>Is it the same in Beijing, or do they have an effective public transport system like train / bus? How much is it? Can your buy monthly passes for cheaper, etc?</p> <p>I was in Berlin over the winter break 6 months ago and their public railway system was amazing!</p>
  • Simen Wangberg

    Heheheh. Effective. Yeah, it has an effect. You wanna know what the effect is? IT'S PISSING ME OFF.

    Ten points if you know what movie that came from. No, Beijing's public transportation...works. It's cheap, like stupidly cheap. It's crowded, like insanely crowded. But it works.

    Except when it doesn't work, like when an escalator suddenly reversed direction on Line 4 a month or so ago. A 13-year-old boy was fatally injured. He was trying to go to the zoo. So there's that.

    And I don't think we need to get started on China's railways. Here, enjoy some light reading: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-china-train-crash-20110725,0,3981692.story

  • 叮噹叔叔 (令狐叮噹)


    Hahahahaha ... as long as you know where you are going ...

    Is it the same in Beijing, or do they have an effective public transport system like train / bus?

    Ans: it is not perfect, but as I said, as long as you know where you are going ... most of the roads in Beijing go from N to S or W to E, so it is not too difficult to find your way around above ground ... the bus system is not too bad, if you are OK with changing buses, sometimes two or three times ...

    How much is it?

    Ans: cheap ... bus ride goes from one yuan to as high as a few yuans, or less than one USD ... subway in Beijing is one fixed cost of two yuans, but they are thinking about changing it ...

    Can your buy monthly passes for cheaper, etc?

    Ans: yes ... you can use the pass for both buses and subway, you wont get discount on subway, but you can save 60% on buses using the pass ...

  • Simen Wangberg

    "subway in Beijing is one fixed cost of two yuans, but they are thinking about changing it..."

    I heard that they're gonna change it to a distance-based fare, but it won't apply if you use the rechargeable transportation card - they said it'll stay at a flat 2 yuan for Yikatong users.

    And yeah, the bus is super-cheap and is actually one of the better ways to get around the city, depending on what route you have to take and what time of day you have to take it. I had to take a horribly slow and crowded bus back when I lived north of Wudaokou - but the bus(es) I take now are usually pretty quick and relatively free of human congestion.

  • Simen Wangberg

    "Your movie quote is Ghostbusters."

    A winner is you.

    And yeah, a kind word of advice - don't get a car and drive here. You will hate yourself and I will hate you as well. Forever. NO. MORE. CARS. In Beijing.

  • 叮噹叔叔 (令狐叮噹)


    (continued) ... it is, afterall, a city with more than 20 million people and more than 4 million privately owned vehicles, and as most people dont believe in "car pooling", so majority of us are stuck in public transport, hence we are all sardines ...

    ... by the way, the "sardines" situation is not limited to rush hours or peak hours, if you go to one of those "shopping suburbs" such as Xi Dan or Wang Fu Jing, you can also be sardined on Saturday or Sunday nights ...

    I dont disagree with "cycling" as Alex suggested, but Beijing, or overall China, is a place where vehicles use up pedestrian space (yes. cars drive and park on walkways) and hence pedestrians sometimes have to walk on "bike lines" or even open road, and we are all just fighting for our way :)

    Cost of car versus public transport ... my own conclusion has always been that, if your general locations of work, entertainment, dining out etc, are not too inconvenient, then the cost of public transport is far better value than a car in Beijing ... however, if you are the weekend outdoor person, and enjoy visiting the country side, you will need to get a license and a car, yes, mainly for weekend drive ...

  • Father Of Boring

    Pretty well covered, but one more piece of advice I've found makes the commute a lot more tolerable: get yourself a foldable bike (a real one, at least aluminum if not carbon, the cheap single-speed steel ones weigh 40 pounds minimum, and you'll need to carry it; carbon frames weigh 12 pounds or so - Dahon stores are everywhere in the city if you want a brand recommendation).  Yeah, know, up there on the douchemeter, but trust me, it eliminates a lot of the headaches with Beijing's public transit.

    Problem: Beijing taxis often don't stop, especially around rush hour when the drivers change shifts (and who the fuck invented that system).  When it rains, or if you're in a busy area, you sometimes have to wait 30-40 minutes to flag one down.  Rather than do that, get on your bike, pedal 5 minutes down the road, and find a place where it's not so busy, flag one down, and put your bike in the trunk.

    Problem: Bus meets traffic jam.  Get off the bus, pedal past the traffic jam, get on bus headed in same direction.

    Problem: 20 minute walk to subway station or bus stop or taxi stand from wherever you need to be.  Beijing is huge, wide, and flat, and covered in fences that don't need to be there and big fuckoff highways that you can't walk across.  A bike cuts a 15-minute diversion to 3 minutes, especially if you live outside the 4th ring.  Walking to the bus stop is like a homework assignment out there.  You just don't want to. But with a bike, whatever, leaving doesn't feel so intimidating.

    Problem: Errands!  I hit supermarket, photo shop, fruit stand, cig shop, police station, and immigration bureau in 2 hours from northeast 3rd ring. For short distances, bikes win.

    Problem: Rain.  No umbrella?  No raincoat?  With a folder, jump in a taxi/bus.

    Problem: Taxi/pedicab drivers who shout at you.  I look at them like they're idiots and point to my bike.  They shut up. 

    Problem: Bike thieves.  Fold your bike up and take it inside.

    The major disadvantage is that yeah, you do have to lug it around with you when you get on/off buses & subways.  I'm used to it and say it's worth it.  Plus, I just take buses & taxis & subways a lot less.  I see more of the city.  I get exercise.  I also show up everywhere I go sweaty, but that's the odor of intelligence.  Breathe it in.  Get that in your lungs.  Mmmmm.  Consider deoderant, extra t-shirts in your bag, and panniers. 

    If you get a car, you will be stuck in traffic.  You don't need that.  Rent for weekend drives, it's cheap.

  • 叮噹叔叔 (令狐叮噹)


    Hahahahaha ... again, I am not against "biking" even though I myself am not fit and not healthy, we have to remember that Jeromy is soon to be a father, and biking, especially in Beijing, might not really be a safe option for someone with a wife and baby ...

  • Simen Wangberg

    "It would make sence to have your company rent you a high end appartment as close to your workplace as possible (center city)"

    I mentioned the expat-package thing in the other thread. The thing with getting an apartment in the center of the city is that it's noisy and dirty there - I think that's why most of the folks employed by international companies + their families end up living in Lidu/Shunyi. It's like this little cookie-cutter version of their home country's suburbs, na'mean?

    Personally I'd love to live in one of those fancy apartment complexes around Dongzhimen or Sanlitun - but for families, especially those that aren't acclimated to Beijing life, it's probably best to live out in the northeast.

    "do your due dilligence and TELL your company what you need..."

    Yes yes yes. You will not get shit if you don't go right out and ask for it, as I mentioned in the other thread. I take this kind of attitude with every job I've ever had though - I'm God's gift to employers and they'd best treat me as such. That's just the way I roll.

  • Simen Wangberg

    Biking in all of its forms is definitely the fastest and most efficient way to get around the city, bar none. Not the safest, naturally, but definitely the most efficient. You even get a workout going.

  • 叮噹叔叔 (令狐叮噹)


    Hahahahaha ... you wont really notice if the buses are late in Beijing ...

    They do run on a fixed schedule, and they are usually very frequent anyway, in order to handle the general population, but with the number of people at the stop, your only concern should be finding the best position when the bus arrives and whether you can squeeze into it, so you wont notice if it is a couple of minutes behind 。。。

    ... yes, if you guessed that there is no lining up or queuing at the bus stop, you are nearly correct ... why "nearly", because some people DO queue, but most dont ...

  • Simen Wangberg

    Yeah, the buses aren't really late - just crowded. And there are often times where you will see three or four buses, all running the same route, stopping at the same stop in rapid succession. Why this happens, I don't know - but it seems like it only happens when I'm waiting for a different bus.

  • Simen Wangberg

    Beijing's air pollution situation is overrated. Underrated? Unless you're Beijing-born and raised + spend most of your adult life here, it's highly unlikely that you'll have to deal with any serious, long-term health problems related to the air quality. You'll get sick more often, but that can be attributed to a number of things, like how no one washes their hands here.

  • 随便叫兽
    随便叫兽 wrote:

    Consider a gas mask as a utilitarian cyberpunk fashion accessory.

  • 叮噹叔叔 (令狐叮噹)


    Hahahaha ... I dont think Jeromy is into cyberpunk, but, I dont have a brain to think  :)

    Lee ... as (and I assume) none of us work for the government, we are not obligated to tell Jeromy the pretty side of Beijing or China, and from above, it is obvious that all (or majority) of us are not happy with the transport and traffic in Beijing, we just survived it somehow ...

    ... and condoms? You must have been thinking about the person asking about his dick?

  • 叮噹叔叔 (令狐叮噹)


    Hahahahaha ... Lee ... you are going way, way, way off course here, but since I was the one who brought that up ... heehee ...

    ... anyway, my guess is he enjoys being in the closet? And like I had told him, to answer his own question, just go and ask how others think of him ...

    ... now back to Beijing or China transport, shall we?

    * off to office *

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