Subway Survival: Beijing

Subway Survival: Beijing

 Beijing has one of the busiest subways in the world with more than 6.4 million riders each day. I would feel a 100 times more confident in the city if I could avoid using the Subway, but unfortunately it is the most cost-effective and efficient way of getting around.

Finding the Subway

In Beijing, a blue sign marked with ‘北京地铁 (Beijing Subway)’ indicates that there is a subway station nearby. Access to the subway station is marked by a square grey pillar on top of which is a lighted blue sign with the letter ‘B’.

Each journey is 2RMB regardless of the transfers between lines. You can either purchase a ticket at the  manned desk or use the machines. Single tickets are issued for one-day use only.

A Transportation Smart Card(seen below) is available. To top up just take the card and the amount you wish to load onto it to the desk and hand it to the attendant. To use the card you simple scan to release the barriers.

Finding your way around

The subway stations are clean and have English signs directing tourists to the exits and nearby places that you are likely trying to find.

Commonly, there are four entrances in four directions for each stop. So, you  should make sure which one to take when getting out of the station or you will probably get lost. Exit A is generally North-East, Exit B North West, Exit C South East and Exit D South West.

Working out the route you need to take is much like connecting the dots; find your nearest subway station, find the station you need to get to and follow the lines. It is very simple and the stops are announced in both Chinese and English.

If you have experience using the London Underground, then using the Beijing subway will be a doddle – once you have adjusted to the millions of people that is.

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