Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
Anyone staying more than a couple of weeks and intending to use public transport regularly
should consider buying a swipe-style transport card ( 一卡通 , yīkǎtōng). Available from
subway stations, these are valid for bus and subway journeys, getting you a 60 percent dis-
count on the former; they can also be used in taxis, and for payment in some convenience
stores. The deposit is 20, which you receive back when you return it, and you can put as
much money on the card as you like.
Getting around Beijing by bus can be a bit of a challenge - destinations are not marked in
English at stops or on the buses themselves, and services can be packed to the gills at rush
hour. The city's two hundred-plus bus and trolleybus services cost 1, or an incredible
0.4 when using a transport card. Double-deckers ( 2), operated on some services, are
comfortable - you're more likely to get a seat on these - and run along main roads. Luxury
buses ( 3-10), which run to certain tourist sights, are modern, air-conditioned, and quite
pleasant. Tourist buses ( 10-60) - which look like ordinary buses but have route numbers
written in green - make regular trips (mid-April to mid-Oct) between the city centre and cer-
tain out-of-town attractions, including sections of the Great Wall; we've listed useful routes
in the Guide.
Taxis cost 2.3 per kilometre, with a minimum fare of 13, and tips are never expected.
Using a taxi after 11pm will incur a surcharge of 20 percent. You can pay either by cash or
using a transport card . Drivers are generally honest (except the ones who hang around trans-
port links), but if they don't put the meter on, you can insist by saying “dǎ biǎo”. If you're
concerned about being taken on an expensive detour, have a map open on your lap, or on
your phone.
Don't let yourself get hustled into a taxi, as unscrupulous drivers look out for newly arrived
foreigners with luggage; walk a short distance and hail one, or find a rank (there's one out-
side each train station). If you feel aggrieved at a driver's behaviour, take his or her number
(displayed on the dashboard) and report it to the taxi complaint office ( 010 68351150).
Indeed, just the action of writing their number down can produce a remarkable change in de-
These days, it can be a little hard to get a taxi in certain places at certain times of the day.
Wangfujing can be a nightmare to escape during the day's shopping hours, while it can be
just as hard to move on from the Forbidden City; buses and subways are on hand to solve
these problems, though this cannot be said for the Sanlitun bar area around kicking-out time -
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