Transportations of Beijing

With the growth of the city following economic reforms, Beijing has evolved as an important transportation hub. Encircling the city are five ring roads, nine expressways and city express routes, eleven China National Highways, several railway routes, and an international airport.
 
Rail
Beijing has two major railway stations: Beijing Railway Station (or the central station) and Beijing West Railway Station. Three other railway stations in Metropolitan Beijing handle regular passenger traffic: Beijing East, Beijing North, and Fengtai. There are also several other small stations serving suburban area.
As of August 1 2006, Beijing Railway Station has 167 trains stopping daily, while Beijing West Railway Station has 176 trains.
 
Beijing is a railway hub. There are railway lines from Beijing to Guangzhou, Shanghai, Harbin, Baotou, Taiyuan, Chengde and Qinhuangdao.
 
International trains, including lines to cities in Russia and Pyongyang, North Korea (DPRK), all run through Beijing. Direct trains to Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR also depart from Beijing.
 
Construction on a Beijing-Tianjin high-speed rail began on July 4 2005, and is scheduled to be completed in 2007.
 
Roads and expressways
 
See: Ring Roads of Beijing, Expressways of Beijing and China National Highways of Beijing for more related information.
 
The Badaling Expressway near the intersection with the Northern 6th Ring Road (November 2002 image)Beijing is connected via road links from all parts of China. Nine expressways of China (with six wholly new expressways under projection or construction) connect with Beijing, as do eleven China National Highways. Within Beijing itself, an elaborate network of five ring roads has developed, but they appear more rectangular than ring-shaped. Roads in Beijing often are in one of the four compass directions (unlike, for example, Tianjin).
 
One of the biggest concerns with traffic in Beijing deals with its apparently ubiquitous traffic jams. Traffic in the city centre is often gridlocked, especially around rush hour. Even outside of rush hour, several roads still remain clogged up with traffic. Urban area ring roads and major through routes, especially near the Chang'an Avenue area, are often clogged up during rush hour.
 
Recently expressways have been extended (in some cases reconstructed as express routes) into the territories within the 3rd Ring Road. As they are either expressways or express routes, drivers do not need to pass through intersections with traffic lights. This may finally solve the difficulties in "hopping between one ring and another".
 
Another problem is that public transportation is underdeveloped (the subway system is presently minimal) and that even buses are jam-packed with people around rush hour. Beijing was poorly designed in terms of zoning and in terms of transportation system [11], [12]. Compounding the problem is patchy enforcement of traffic regulations, and road rage. Beijing authorities claim that traffic jams may be a thing of a past come the 2008 Olympics. The authorities have introduced several bus lanes where, during rush hour, all vehicles except for public buses must keep clear.
 
Chang'an Avenue runs east-west through the centre of Beijing, past Tian'anmen. It is a major through route and is often called the "First Street in China" by authorities.
 
Air
Beijing's main airport is the Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) near Shunyi, which is about 20 km northeast of Beijing city centre. Most domestic and nearly all international flights arrive and depart at Capital Airport. Capital Airport is the main hub for Air China. It is linked to central Beijing by the Airport Expressway and is a roughly 40-minute drive from the city centre during good traffic hours. In preparation for the 2008 Olympics, another expressway is being built to the Airport, as well as a lightrail system.
Other airports in the city include Beijing Liangxiang Airport, Beijing Nanyuan Airport, Beijing Xijiao Airport, Beijing Shahe Airport and Beijing Badaling Airport. However, these are primary for military use and less well-known to the public.
 
Public transit
The evolving Beijing Subway has four lines (two above ground, two underground), with several more being built in preparation for the 2008 Summer Olympics. There were 599 bus and trolleybus routes in Beijing as of 2004.
Beijing has simplified its bus fare system from Jan 1 2007 as follows:
 
Pay by cash -
Lines 1-199 (Mainly operated in inner city) 1 Yuan(USD$ 14 Cents,EUR 10 Cents) per single journey.
Lines 200-299 (Night services): 2 Yuan per journey.
Lines 300-899 (Mainly operated in outer city / suburb): 1 Yuan for the first 12 km and another 0.5 yuan for each additional 5 km.
Lines 900-999 (Mainly operated from city center to rural area): 1 Yuan per 10 km.
 
Pay by prepaid Yikatong smartcard -
Lines 1-499: 0.4 Yuan (USD$ 5 cents, EUR 4 Cents)per single journey.
Lines 500-899: 0.4 Yuan for the first 12 km and another 0.2 Yuan for each additional 5 km.
Lines 900-999: 0.8 Yuan per 10 km.
 
3-day, 7-day and 14-day bus passes are available for travellers.
Surcharges of air-conditioned buses have been cancelled.
Subway tickets cost 3 Yuan for the 1, 2, 13, and 8T lines; 5 RMB for tickets allowing a transfer from Line 1/2 to 13, and 4 RMB for tickets allowing a transfer from Line 1/2 to 8T. There is no discount for smartcard users.
 
Taxis

 Taxis are nearly ubiquitous, including a large number of unregistered taxis. As of June 30 2006 all fares on legal taxies start at 10 Renminbi for the first 3 km (idling time is also a factor), and are 2.00 Renminbi per extra kilometer. Most taxis are a mixed fleet of new Hyundai Elantra and Sonata, Peugeot Citroen(older models) and Volkswagen Jetta cars(mostly older models). After 15 km, the base fare is increased by 50% (but only applied to the portion of the distance over 15 km, so that the passenger is not retroactively charged extra for the first 15 km). Between 11pm and 6am, the fee is increased by 20%, starting at 11 RMB and increasing at a rate of 2.4 RMB per km. Rides over 15 km and between 11pm and 6am apply both charges, for a total increase of 80%.