Sunday, September 17, 2006

Beijing Subway / Underground

Because of Beijing’s congestion problems, the subway is often the quickest way to get around. It’s cheap, but extremely crowded during the rush hour. It’s also a great place to person-watch.

Beijing currently has three and a bit subway lines. Line 1 runs East-West, through (among other stops) Dongdan, Xidan, Wangfujing and Tiananmen. At Jianguomen and Fuxingmen it intersects Line 2, which is a circle line encompassing Central Beijing. The third line is known as line 13, and travels a long path around the northern suburbs. The ‘bit’ is the Batong line, which extends Line 1 further East. Journeys on lines 1, 2 and 13 currently cost 3RMB, but this can be expected to rocket in coming years.

Massive extensions are planned to the underground system before the 2008 Olympic Games. There'll be at least four new underground lines, and an extension linking the airport to Dongzhimen. The planned extensions will include two more lines through the centre of Beijing, and better access to the suburbs.

In Chinese, subway/underground is ‘Dì tiĕ’, and it's written 地铁.