The Beijing Metro is an urban and suburban transportation system that provides service to Beijing, the capital of China. This system is one of the busiest in the world, not only due to the large number of people living in China, but also due to how extensive it is. A record 3.78 billion trips were made in 2017.
The Beijing Metro has 370 stations distributed along 608.2 kilometers (378 miles) and 22 lines. This makes it the second largest metro system in the world, surpassed only by the Chinese city of Shanghai.
Founded in 1969, this is the oldest subway in continental China. The system has a complex management system, due to having 5 different operators with various stockholders.
The system schedule varies according to each line but overall runs from about 5:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. For distances less than 6 kilometers (3.73 miles). the basic fair is 3 yuan ($US 0.44).
Beijing is the capital of the People’s Republic of China, the most populous country in the world and with a 2013 count of 21,150,000 people, Beijing has transformed into one of the most populous cities on the planet.
Beijing is also the current political center of the country’s communist party as well as one of the most famed cities in China’s historic civilization. It is located in northeast China and the second most populous city in China, just behind Shanghai.
Beijing has become the center for tourism for millions of people worldwide, with notable sites like the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, and remnants of the original Great Wall of China and the Grand Canal. Each one has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Chinese capital is surrounded by mountains and its divisions are likewise maintained by its internal walls. The modern-age has reached Beijing as well, transforming it into a city with significant skyscrapers and economic centers.
The city has developed a major university and technological presence as well, with development hubs like Zhongguancun.
The city’s moderate climate is typical of the northern hemisphere. The temperature is usually between 5 °C (41 °F) and -8 °C (17.6 °F) during cold months and reaches up to 30 °C (86 °F) during the summer, though it can fall below 13 °C (55.4 °F).
The Beijing Metro is the most important means of transportation in this Chinese capital. It was founded on October 1, 1969, making it the first metro system in the People’s Republic of China.
There were two metro lines until 2002, when a rapid-paced expansion left it with 22 lines and a length of 608.2 kilometers (378 miles). The metro now has 370 stations. The goal is to reach 1000 kilometers (621.4 miles) by 2021.
The Beijing Metro’s rolling stock varies. There have been three generations throughout its history. However, when the massive construction work began in 2002, the system began to exclusively use the rolling stock of Changchun Railway Vehicles Company Ltd, a subsidiary of China CNR Corp.
Recently, the Beijing Metro has begun to incorporate trains manufactured by Qingdao Sifang Locomotive & Rolling Stock Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of the China South Locomotive and Rolling Stock Corp.
The metro is owned by the Beijing Municipal Government. However, there are five different operators. The main one is the Beijing Mass Transit Railway Operation Corporation Limited, which manages 15 of the system’s lines. Four lines are operated by the Beijing MTR Corporation, which is a public company made up of the Hong Kong Metro and the public company, Beijing Capital Group. The other operators are the Beijing MTR Operation Administration, the Beijing Public Transit Tramway and the Beijing Capital Metro. Each operates one line.
An estimated 3.78 billion passengers take the train annually.
China established itself as a Communist country following its Civil War. Accordingly, the influence it received in certain areas, such as transportation, came from the Soviet Union. Soviet experts were the first to propose the construction of the Beijing Metro in September 1953. The project was based on the Moscow Metro, though it was also inspired by the technology of the German Democratic Republic.
The more than 100 stations and 117 kilometers (72.7 miles) promised to be monumental. However, the project was abandoned due to the deterioration in relations between the Soviet Union and China. Construction restarted in 1965 as the people of China advanced the project. The demolishment of an internal wall to make way for construction was one of the major controversies that developed.
Four years later, following the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the first section of the Beijing Metro opened on October 1, 1969. It extended 21 kilometers (13 miles). The metro, which sustained accidents was militarized from 1970 to 1976. It was not until 1981 when a company was created to regulate the metro. A second line was opened in 1984 and the metro maintained the two lines, up until the beginning of the new millennium, two decades later.
Due to Beijing being named host of the 2008 Summer Olympics in 2001, the metro underwent a rapid-paced expansion. With a 7.69 billion (US dollar) expansion, the metro planned 19 lines in time for the sporting event. Even with the end of the Olympic Games, the urgency of the expansion project continued. Consequently, a 1000 km (621.4 mi) route is foreseen by 2020.
The Beijing Metro’s 22 lines make it one of the systems with the most lines worldwide. Some lines are referred to by numbers while others are named. Operators also vary. The Beijing Metro lines are included below:
With a 1969 inauguration, this was the Beijing Metro’s first line. It currently extends 30.4 kilometers (18.9 miles) and has 23 stations. 2 are surface level. The terminal stations are Pingguoyuan, in the Shijingshan district and Sihui East, in the Chaoyang district. The last expansion was in 1999. The line is identified by the color, dark red and the Beijing Mass Transit Railway Operation Corp. is the operating company.
This is Beijing Metro’s circular line. It mainly travels along the city’s central zone through the districts of Xicheng and Dongcheng. The route opened in 1971 and the last expansion in 1989 makes it the system’s oldest line. There are 18 stations distributed along 23.1 kilometers (14.4 miles). Beijing Mass Transit Railway Operation Corporation operates Line 2 as well. Navy blue is the line’s identifying color.
Line 4 was recently constructed. It opened in 2009 and was expanded in 2010. The line has 24 stations and a length of 28.2 kilometers (17.5 miles). One station is surface level. Its terminal stations are Anheqiao North in the Haidian district and Gongyixiqiao in the Fengtai district. The Beijing MTR Corporation is the operator. Line 4 can be identified by the color, teal.
This line has not benefited from an expansion since its inauguration in 2007. However, it has 23 stations, 7 of which are surface level. The total route is 27.6 kilometers (17.1 miles). Its terminal stations are Tiantongyuan North, in the Changping district and Songjiazhuang. in the Fengtai district. The line is managed by the Beijing Mass Transit Railway Operation Corporation and its distinguishing color is purple.
This is the third longest line on the Beijing Metro, with 26 stations along its 42.8 kilometers (26.6 miles). It opened in 2012 and was expanded in 2014. The terminal station, Haidian Wuluju is in the Haidian district, while the other terminal station, Lucheng, is found in the Tongzhou district. Light brown is Line 6’s distinguishing color. The state-owned Beijing Mass Transit Railway Operation Corp is its operator.
Identified by the color beige, Line 7 was recently constructed. It was inaugurated in 2014 and there have been no expansions. Currently, there are 19 stations and its length is 23.7 kilometers (14.7 miles). The terminal stops are Beijing West Railway Station, in the Fengtai district and Jiaohuachang, in the Chaoyang district. The operating company is Beijing Mass Transit Railway Operation Corp.
Line 8 runs from Zhuxinzhuang, in the Changping district to Nanluoguxiang, in the Dongcheng district. There are 17 stations covering 26.6 kilometers (16.5 miles). 1 is surface level. Line 8 was inaugurated in 2008 for the Olympic Games and underwent its last expansion in 2013. It is also operated by the Beijing Mass Transit Railway Operation Corporation and can be identified by the color green.
Line 9 is distinguishable by the color apple green. Opened in 2011 and expanded in 2012, this line covers 16.5 kilometers (10.3 miles) and has 13 stations. The terminal ones are National Library in the Haidian district and Guogongzhuang in the Fengtai district. The Beijing Mass Transit Railway Operation Corp also manages this line.
This is the Beijing Metro’s second circular line. It covers a much larger radius and connects a greater part of the city than Line 2. At 57.1 kilometers (35.5 miles), Line 10 has become the metro’s longest line. This means it also has the most stations. There is a total of 45. It travels through various districts but the most notable is Fengtai. Line 10 is identified by the color, sky blue. The Beijing Mass Transit Railway Operation Corp. manages this line.
Identified on maps by the color yellow, this extensive line travels in a semicircular route throughout northern Beijing. Its terminal stations are Xizhimen, in the Xicheng district and Dongzhimen in the Dongcheng district. It is 40.9 kilometers (25.4 miles). There are 16 stations. 15 are surface level due to it being one of the highest-level lines in the system. It was inaugurated in 2002 and its last expansion was in 2003. It is also managed by the public company, Beijing Mass Transit Railway Operation Corporation.
These two lines currently operate separately but will be connected in the future. Therefore, they share the color, light pink. Line 14 West runs from Zhangguozhuang station in the Fengtai district to Xiju, also in the Fengtai district. It currently has 7 stations, 2 of which are surface level. It extends 12.4 kilometers (7.7 miles). Its inauguration was in 2013 and the last expansion was in 2014. Line 14 East has a similar background. It opened in 2014 and was expanded in 2017. The fact remains, however, that this line is much longer than its sister line. It covers 28.6 kilometers (17.8 miles) and has 21 stations. The terminal ones are Beijing South Railway Station, in the Fengtai district and Shangezhuang, in the Chaoyang district. The Beijing MTR Corporation manages both these lines.
Distinguished by the color dark purple, this line is operated by the Beijing Mass Transit Railway Operation Corp. The terminal stations are Qinghuadongluxikou station in the Haidian district and Fengbo, in the Shunyi district. It was inaugurated in 2010 and expanded in 2017. At 45.7 kilometers (28.4 miles), this is the second longest line in the system though there are not many stations. There are 18 in total. 7 are surface level.
Line 16’s distinguishing color is dark-moderate green. Opened in 2016 and expanded in 2017, this is the system’s second most recent line. It is operated by the Beijing MTR Corporation. There are 10 stations distributed along 19.6 kilometers (12.2 miles). The terminal stations are Bei'anhe and Xiyuan, in the Haidian district.
Opened in 2003, the Batong Line is part of Line 1’s eastern section. It is also operated by the Beijing Mass Transit Railway Operation Corporation and its terminal stations are Sihui, in the Chaoyang district and Tuqiao, in the Tongzhou. district. It is 18.9 kilometers (11.7 miles) with 13 stations. They are all surface level. The Batong Line is distinguished by the color, dark red.
This line opened in 2010 and is part of Line 13 in northern Beijing. It was expanded in 2015 to what currently consists of 12 stations and a length of 32 kilometers (19.9 miles). 6 stations are surface level. The terminal stations are Changping Xishankou, in the Changping district and Xi'erqi, in the Haidian district. The line’s distinguishing color is pink. Beijing Mass Transit Railway Operation Corporation is the operator.
Daxing Line operates in southern Beijing as an extension of Line 4. The line has not been expanded since its opening in 2010. There are 12 stations covering 21.7 kilometers (13.5 miles). 1 is surface level and its terminal ones include Gongyixiqiao in the Fengtai district and Tiangongyuan in the Daxing district. Like Line 4, its distinguishing color is teal, and the Beijing MTR Corporation manages it as well.
Opened in 2010 and expanded in 2017, this line is 27 kilometers (16.8 miles). This line is an extension of Line 9. There are 12 stations, of which 10 are surface level. The terminal stations are Guogongzhuang, in the Fengtai district and Yancun East in the Fangshan district. Orange is this line’s distinguishing color and it is operated by the Beijing Mass Transit Railway Operation Corporation.
As an extension of the Fangshang Line, the Yanfang Line is also identified by the color orange. It travels from Yancun East station, in the Fangshan district to Yanshan, in the same district. It opened in 2017. The length is 14.4 kilometers (8.9 miles) and there are 8 stations, all surface level. This is the only line operated by the Beijing MTR Operation Administration.
Opened in 2010, this line is 23.3 kilometers (14.5 miles). There are 13 stations. 8 are surface level. Its color is fuchsia, and it serves as an extension to Line 5. The terminal stations on this route are Songjiazhuang, in the Fengtai district and Ciqu in the Tongzhou district. The operating company is the Beijing Mass Transit Railway Operation Corporation.
Located in western Beijing and opened in 2017, this line is the most striking. This is due to its short 8.25-kilometer (5.1-mile) route, which utilizes magnetic levitation technology. The S1 Maglev Line is the most rapid commercialized train system. All 7 of its stations are surface level. It has the distinction of having no connection to the rest of the Beijing Metro. The terminal stations are Jin'anqiao, in the Shijingshan district and Shichang, in the Mentougou district. The Beijing Mass Transit Railway Operation Corporation manages this line and its distinguishing color is brown.
As its name indicates, this line provides service to the Beijing Capital International Airport. Its terminal stations are Dongzhimen in the Dongcheng district, in the middle of the city and Terminal 2 and Terminal 3 stations in the Chaoyang and Shunyi districts, respectively. The Airport Express Line runs in a continuous circular pattern. Opened in 2008, this line is 28.1 kilometers (17.5 miles) and includes 4 stations. 1 station is surface level. Magnolia is the distinguishing color for this line, operated by the Beijing Capital Metro.
Distinguished by the color red, this line serves as a western extension to the circular Line 10. Its terminal stations are Bagou, in the Haidian district and Fragrant Hills, also in the Haidian district. It opened in 2017 and extends 8.8 kilometers (5.5 miles). There are 6 stations and due to it being a light rail, they are all surface level. The Beijing Public Transit Tramway company manages this line.
The Beijing Metro system is the most used transportation system in the Chinese capital. This became especially true following the fast-paced expansion that began in 2001. The system also works with other systems to provide service to the city.
The most significant are the Beijing buses, which are operated by the company, Beijing Public Transport Holdings, Ltd. ("BPT"). The company currently manages 1020 different routes. The Beijing Yuntong Bus Company, known simply as Yuntong, also provides riders with bus service on 32 routes.
Trolleybuses are included in the bus system. Four BTR lines travel in a cross like pattern to the city’s cardinal points. The city’s double decker and articulated buses are also significant.
Beijing has three suburban railway lines that include the S2 Line, the Sub-Central Line and the Huairou–Miyun Line. They connect various town populations to the city.
Similarly, the long-distance railway transportation includes three train stations. The Beijing station connects to the metro’s Line 2, while the eastern one connects to Lines 7 and 9, and the southern one connects to Lines 4 and 14. Medium-speed and high-speed trains can be taken from these stations to cities such as Shanghai and Tianjin. There is also an international destination train, on which riders can travel to Moscow, Ulaan Baatar, Pyongyang and Hanoi.
The Beijing Capital International Airport is the third busiest airport worldwide, just after the London-Heathrow Airport and the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta. Terminal 3 opened in 2008 and became the world’s second largest terminal, after Dubai.
There is a direct connection to the Beijing Metro via the Airport Express Line. It travels directly to the airport terminals 1 and 2 at Terminal 2 station and to 3 at Terminal 3 station. The route is circular and connects to stations Sanyuanqiao on Line 10 and Dongzhimen on Lines 2 and 13.
The Beijing Metro schedules vary depending on the line, although most operate between 5:00 a.m. and near midnight. The train frequencies are also similar. Included below are some train schedules and frequencies:
The Beijing Metro fare system is based simply on the distance traveled. The upcoming table details the ticket costs as a function of the distance traveled on the chosen route. Fares start at 3 yuan ($US 0.44) and increase by 1 yuan ($US 0.15) for every fare zone reached. The first range is measured every 6 kilometers (3.7 miles), up to 12 (7.5), in which it changes to every 10 kilometers (6.2 miles). It then goes up to 32 (19.9), in which the count then changes to every 20 kilometers (12.4 miles).
The price for an Airline Express Line ticket is 14 yuan ($US 2.05).
Children under 1.3 meters (4.3 feet) travel free of charge, when accompanied by an adult.
Elderly adults over the age of 65, disabled passengers, retired revolutionary cadres, police and military veterans wounded in combat, military personnel and members of the People’s Armed Police ride free of charge.
Completing a trip in four hours is vital. If this time is exceeded, an additional fee of 3 yuan ($US 0.44) must be paid. The fares per distance are:
Another payment method is the Yikatong card. Passengers can purchase these cards and add to its balance at station ticket counters.
The Yikatong card is officially called the Beijing Municipal Administration & Communication Card (BMAC). This card can be used on the metro, the suburban train, urban and suburban buses and for other purposes as well. A minimum balance of 3 yuan (US$ 0.44) is required for use.
Riders who spend over 100 yuan ($US 14.67) in a calendar year will receive a discount off the next month. If they spend over 150 yuan ($US 22.00), any expenditure will be 20% discounted. If they spend between 150 ($US 22)) and 400 yuan ($US 58.67), they will receive a 50% discount. The Yikatong card discounts are:
The goal is for the Beijing Metro to reach 1000 km (621.3 mi) by the year 2021. A continued growth, that began in 2001, is evident by the construction of lines and numerous expansions that will connect over 350 kilometers (217.5 miles). The focus is on current lines.
One of the most important expansions is connecting both ends of Line 14. The Fangshan Line will be extended to the city’s third ring zone and form a connection to Lines 10 and 16.
The opening of two new phases on Lines 6 and 8 will follow.
Extensions to Lines 7, 14, 16, Batong, Fangshan, and Airport Express are planned for 2019. Other plans for 2019 include the connection of the S1 Line to the rest of the system and the construction of the New Airport Line, that will connect to the city’s new airport.
Lines 3, 12, 17, 19, 28 and Pinggu will be opened by 2020, provided that the outlined plans are fulfilled. Lines Yanfang and Changping will be expanded as well.
On a metro as extensive as Beijing’s, it is important to keep certain tips in mind in order to be proactive and to avoid mishaps. Below are some tips:
Each year, this Chinese capital is paradise for millions of tourists. The traditional, historic China, including dynasties and republics has merged with the modern China, which is cosmopolitan, massive and westernized by the recent decades. Beijing is at the center of this movement and as a result, it has been transformed into an attractive and distinctive city that captivates its many visitors. The Beijing Metro is the most ideal transportation system for getting around the city. The 22 lines allow one to visit hundreds of places. Some of those include:
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