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Lining up Beijing

On some subways, you mind the gap. In Beijing, you better count the lines.

01·15·2013

Lining up Beijing

On some subways, you mind the gap. In Beijing, you better count the lines.

01·15·2013

If you’ve ever stepped foot on the subway of any major city in China, you’ll know what it’s like to surf the massive crowds in order to reach your destination. Fortunately, the city of Beijing has decided to step up its game in order to finally alleviate some of the stress of taking the public transportation system. Four new lines have recently opened throughout the city, including the brand new line 6, the southern section of the current line 8, the northern section of the current line 9, and the southern and northern stretches that complete the loop on line 10.

So where exactly do these new lines go and what areas do they cover? For starters, it makes going to places like Bei Hai (北海)so much easier. We all know how annoying it is try to find a taxi driver who will actually stop and take you to the door of the park. The new subway Line 6 now has direct access to the famous park. It also has direct access from Haidian Wuluju in the far west of the city to Caofang in the east, cutting across the city directly.

With the extension of Line 8, you can now go straight from Gu Lou Da Jie to the Olympic Sports Center without having to go through a million transfers. One of the best additions has been the northern section of Line 9, which now allows for easier access to the Beijing West Railway station through the connecting lines 4, 6, and 10.

Through the additions to line 10, the southern areas of Beijing now have easier access to the Beijing South Railway station. They can also now reach the north through a much quicker route with the connecting line 5.

Line 10 is now actually the world’s longest metro line equipped with Communication Based Train Control and has been fitted with the automatic train protection system Trainguard MT by Siemens, which is now the most extensively deployed automatic train control system in the world.

According to the Beijing Municipal Commission, Beijing now has a total of 16 active subway lines, with a total track length of some 442 kilometers. Its public transportation system carried an average of 20.6 million people per day in 2012. With about 44 percent of residents using public transportation, Beijing has the highest percentage of users of any city nationwide and holds the country’s longest urban subway system.

The four new subway lines, which cost almost 83 billion yuan according to a report on the government’s website, help cover the city’s densely populated areas. “These areas are…home to lots of commerce and workplaces. Therefore the transport demand is high. The opening of the four lines will bring great convenience to people’s daily lives, ” said Li Xiaosong, Deputy Director of Beijing Municipal Commission according to CCTV.

According to the Beijing Metro Company, from 2013 to 2015 Beijing will continue to place at least one new subway line every year. It is estimated that by the year 2015, Beijing will have 19 fully operating subway lines, with a combined length of 561km.  The total subway length is even expected to increase to 1,000 km by 2020, as stated by the Beijing Metro Company.

With China’s quadrupled economy over the past decade, its cities have continued to expand at an alarming rate, leading to even more traffic congestion and pollution. Fortunately, for those of us who live in one of these polluted cities, China has also accelerated approvals for the construction of local transport networks across the country, according to the World Bank. It even passed a new policy move that makes it mandatory for downtown areas of major cities to have bus stops every 500 meters.

Although not enforced, vehicles are also banned from roads one day per week according to plate numbers. With faster trains, newer designs of stations, and smaller transfer times, the country is aiming to take measures to control the dense traffic.

Beijing subway map 2013

We are all anxious to have these lines up and running, especially if that means a difference in the amount of cars on the road. Meanwhile, enjoy some tips below on how to get to some of the main locations using the existing subway stops:

1. AIRPORT:

Starting with probably the most important station, the easiest and cheapest way to go is to take the Airport Express Line that goes directly there. You can either access the station through Line 13 and Line 10 at Dongzhimen, or Sanyuanqiao on Line 10. Make sure your  flight leaves while the express line is still open, since it closes about an hour earlier than the subway does. You don’t want to have to try to find a taxi late at night with all of your luggage at Sanyuanqiao station because of the closed expressway. It might lead to a pricey taxi ride!

2. TIANANMEN SQUARE & FORBIDDEN CITY:

Line 1 has two direct stops for Tiananmen Square, both Tiananmen East or Tiananmen West work equally well. Because Tiananmen Square is so close to the Forbidden City, Jingshan Park, and Beihai Park, you can do it all in one day and save yourself an extra day of transportation.

3.SILK MARKET

This has to be the easiest place to get to in Beijing. Just take Line 1 and get off at Yong An Li station, exit A. This is a great thing to do on a day that you don’t feel like being outside too much, since the building is literally above the subway station. No need to step out into the cold once you’re on the subway.

4.TEMPLE OF HEAVEN & PEARL MARKET

Take line 5 and get off at Tiantandongmen. Yup, it’s that easy. Do both in one day!

5.SUMMER PALACE

Take subway line 4 and get off at Bei Gong Men station which will leave you at the north gate of the Summer Palace. Again, that easy.