Public transportation in Beijing: an overview

August 22, 2010 | Posted by Sarah

A map of the subway lines in Beijing, above. Subway is one of the three main methods of public transportation in Beijing.

Public transportation plays a very important role in Beijing. The most common three means of public transportation are bus, subway and taxi.


In Beijing, the most common method of transportation is bus. Hundreds of thousand people take buses every day. You can take a bus by swiping a bus card, or you can just buy a ticket from the bus conductor. Generally, using a card is cheaper than buying tickets, which costs just 25% of the ticket price. The price of the ticket is proportional to the distance, from 1 yuan to 3 yuan or more.


Like riding the bus, the subway is also a very important means of transportation in Beijing. Many people go to work by taking subway.

For riding the subway, the price of the ticket is very low, no matter the distance, because you only need to pay two yuan to take subway anywhere you want. There are several ticket vendors at each station. The bus card we mentioned above can also be used, but there’s no discount like with the bus. Everyone who takes subway must pass through the security check before going into the station.


Nowadays Beijing has more than 67,000 taxis, and about 100,000 workers related to taxi service. Taxis are available anytime, no matter in daytime or midnight. The start price is ten yuan, which means if the distance is within 3 km, the passenger only needs to pay 10 yuan. But, this is only the price in daytime, and the price is one yuan higher during the night from 11:00 pm - 4:00 am. If the distance is longer than 3 km but shorter than 15 km, the exceeding distance will be charged at 2 yuan each km. If the distance is longer than 15 km, the part exceeding 15 km will charge 3 yuan per each additional km.

Beijing’s taxi drivers are friendly and talkative. Some of them speak decent English as well. During the 2008 Olympic Games, it's believed they helped leave a very good impression on international visitors.

If you travel in Beijing or live in here, these are the three main means of public transportation that will help you get around. You can choose any of them according to your own preference.

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