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The Beijing Subway is China’s second-biggest city metro network. By ridership, it is the busiest worldwide, serving the city of the future.
Please note: The Beijing Suburban Railway system is covered separately.
Fares: Distance-based rates. Fares are between ¥ 3 and ¥ 9 per ride.
Beijing uses the Yikatong Card.
Current lines in service (italics indicate lines opening late 2015):
- Line 1: Pingguoyuan – Sihui East
- Line 2: Xizhimen – Dongzhimen – Qianmen – Xizhimen (Central Beijing Loop)
- Line 4: Anheqiao North – Gongyixiqiao
- Line 5: Tiantongyuan North – Songjiazhuang
- Line 6: Haidian Wuluju – Lucheng
- Line 7: Beijing West Railway Station – Jiaohuachang
- Line 8: Zhuxinzhuang – Nanluoguxiang
- Line 9: Guogongzhuang – National Library
- Line 10: Bagou – Jinsong – Songjiazhuang – Bagou (Outer City Loop)
- Line 13: Xizhimen – Huilongguan – Huoying – Dongzhimen (Semi-Loop)
- Line 14: Shan’gezhuang – Beijing South Railway Station – Jingfengmen – Dongguantou – Xiju – Zhangguozhuang
- Line 15: Qinghuadonglu Xikou – Fengbo
- Batong Line: Sihui – Tuqiao
- Changping Line: Xi’erqi – Changping Xishankou
- Daxing Line: Gongyixiqiao – Xin’gong – Tiangongyuan
- Fangshan Line: Guogongzhuang – Suzhuang
- Yizhuang Line: Songjiazhuang – Ciqu
- Airport Express: Dongzhimen – Beijing Capital International Airport
Opening later in 2016:
Avoid the crowds! The city’s busiest lines are Lines 1, 2, and 10. Line 13, as well as the Batong and Changping lines, can also get notoriously crowded around rush hour as travellers head back to and from the suburbs.
IN THE WORKS
The Beijing Subway is expected to be the world’s longest mass transit system by around 2015, when current blueprints foresee its growth to 666 km. 2021 estimates predict mileage at around, or in excess of, 1,000 km — pretty much just in time for the Beijing & Zhangjiakou 2022 Winter Olympics. (For those who’ve suffered the average Beijing traffic jam, this news just can’t come soon enough!)
Opening by 2017
- Line 6: Pingguoyuan – Haidian Wuluju
- Line 8: Nanluoguxiang – Wufutang
- Line 14: Beijing South Railway Station – Jingfengmen – Xiju
- Line 16: Wanping – Xiyuan
- Mentougou Line: Pingguoyuan – Shimenying
- Yanfang Line: Suzhuang – Yanhua
(Partial plans only; some lines might probably open somewhat beyond this date)
- Line 3: Tiancun – Xisi and National Art Museum – Jinzhan East
- Line 11: Jin’anqiao – Guanyintang
- Line 12: Sijiqingqiao – Jiuxianqiao Electronics City
- Line 17: Shaoyaoju – Future Science Park (with option of branch link to Beiya Gardens)
- Line 18: Zhengchangzhuang – Xitaipingzhuang
- Airport Express: Beixinqiao – Dongzhimen
There is also a likely extra line that will go through the centre of the Beijing CBD (some plans label this as another “Line 17”). Also likely is at least one Express Subway line (Express Line 1). Additionally, some pre-reserved stations on Line 13 might enter use by this time (or after this time). Up to seven suburban railways will also likely open by this time.
As China’s first-ever Metro / Subway system, the Beijing Subway got started in the 1960s. A quick cut-and-cover marathon over four years saw the network opened on 1 October 1969, albeit in secrecy, as Mao was fearful that the Soviets might flatten the Chinese capital. The first-ever line, a present-day amalgamation of Line 2 (South) and Line 1 (West), took riders — no foreigners back then (unless they were invited on official business) — from the Beijing Railway Station to the western suburbs in Shijingshan.
When Deng replaced Mao as the leader of China in the 1980s, the Subway was expanded to cover the northern half of the 2nd Ring Road. In the 1990s, Line 1 was extended further to what’s now the Beijing CBD. But it was Beijing’s successful 2008 Summer Olympics bid that contributed to the creation of one of the world’s largest Subway systems.
In late 2002 and early 2003, Line 13 opened up in two parts; the Batong extension to Line 1 opened in late 2003. 2007 saw a new north-south Line 5; 2008, Lines 8 (Phase 1), 10 (Phase 1) and the Airport Express. The growth of the Subway continued even after the Games; in 2009, Line 4 opened to passenger service.
Since 2010, the Subway has continued to expand at even faster speeds; a record-breaking 5 new lines (Line 15 and the Changping, Fangshan, Yizhuang Lines and the Daxing extension to Line 4) opened in late 2010. Late 2011 saw a Line 8 extension to Huilongguan, Line 9 from Guogongzhuang to the Beijing West Railway Station, and Line 15 further up into central Shunyi. In late 2012, a brand-new Line 6 entered service, Lines 8 and 9 were extended, and Line 10 expanded to progressively become the city’s second loop line. The late 2012 expansions made Beijing’s system one of the longest worldwide. In May 2013, the Line 10 loop was completed, and Line 14 (Zhangguozhuang – Xiju) entered into service. Late 2013 extensions connected the north-south Line 8 with the Changping Line (headed to the suburbs), as well as extend services into central Beijing. In late 2014, a great number of new lines and extensions opened, including the eastern extension to Line 6 into Tongzhou, an all-new Line 7, the northeastern part of Line 14, and the rest of Line 15 to Qinghuadonglu Xikou.
Beijing winning the rights to co-host, along with Zhangjiakou, the 2022 Winter Olympics, meant that a new round of mass metro building quickly got underway. In late 2015, Line 14 was extended to Beijing South Railway Station, on the same day that the Changping Line was extended to its new northwesternmost terminus, Changping Xishankou. Line 16 is expected to open ten suburban stations in the northwest by late 2016. By the time the Games are in town (again), Beijing’s network would have been consisted of a massive network, first in terms of operational length worldwide, with Lines 1–10 and 12–22, as well as the Batong, Changping, Daxing, Fangshan, Western Suburban, Yanfang, and Yizhuang lines open, a CBD Automated People Mover system ready, and two airport express metros to both Beijing Capital Airport and the new Beijing Daxing Airport. By then, one must look at the humble automobile as a relic of a bygone era!