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How to Ride the Beijing Subway for Free

Spend 200 RMB on a Security Staff ID, ride the subway for free. Would you do it?


How to Ride the Beijing Subway for Free

Spend 200 RMB on a Security Staff ID, ride the subway for free. Would you do it?


Via The Beijing News.

A reporter from Beijing News has discovered that if you invest 200 yuan, you can thereafter ride the Beijing subway for free.

The reporter was forwarded an advertisement for a “Temporary Subway Security Staff ID” which can be scanned for entry at the gate of Beijing subway lines.

On Apr 7, the reporter contacted the dealer, surnamed Zhao. Zhao promised that the IDs he was selling were genuine and that he would allow the reporter to try one out before buying. Zhao took the reporter to the Fenzhongsi station of line 10 where, instead of buying a ticket, the reporter walked up to the ticket booth and showed the ID card to the worker on duty.

“Swipe the Staff ID,” the reporter instructed.  The worker swiped the ID for him without checking it and he was indeed granted free access to the subway.

The ID has a yellow background and the subway logo on the top left corner. In the middle are the Chinese characters for “Temporary Beijing Subway Security Staff ID” with a blurred red seal. On the back, there are instructions saying that the card can only be used by its owner for daily commute.

“I’ve sold over a thousand of these,” Zhao the dealer said. “The card can be used in all subway lines except for the Changping Line, Fangshan Line and airport line. I guarantee you can use it for at least one year.”

Zhao said that he works on commission for the cards he sells and that they come from someone inside the subway company. He also reminded the reporter, “If anyone questions you, simply say you belong to the Wenan branch of the Beijing subway.”

After bargaining, the reporter bought the ID for 150 yuan and successfully rode lines 1, 2, 5 and 10 for free without ever getting checked.

Later the reporter contacted the Wenan branch of the Beijing subway Zhao had mentioned. Relevant officials said they’d never had any security-related business with the subway and that their employees have no right to ride it for free.

According to the Beijing Cailiang Law Firm, anyone creating false documents that reduce income to a corporation can be charged with forgery and held liable for the damages. Accomplices selling the documents can also be held criminally responsible. And those who use fake documents to avoid payment to a corporation can be forced to repay the charges they avoided.

Subway authorities say they are investigating the “Security Staff ID.”

H/T The Economic Observer. Translated by Chi Yi.


Want an overview and tips on getting round Beijing via the subway? Read our ‘Lining Up Beijing‘.