Beijing: How to Get There and Traffic

Beijing: How to Get There and Traffic

General

Beijing is criss-crossed by five ring roads, nine highways and many inner-city expressways. According to youremailverifier, the city of Beijing is connected to all parts of the country via countless road connections. The express roads have recently been expanded, but they do not really help to relieve traffic. The inner-city traffic goes mainly via the five ring roads and several thoroughfares.

Rental cars are only given to tourists with chauffeur for trips outside of Beijing. For trips that do not go beyond the urban area, however, it is possible to drive yourself. Either the international driver’s license or the Chinese one is required for this. But you should think twice about whether you really want to do the Beijing traffic.

Non-compliance, traffic jams and chaos are the order of the day, especially during rush hour, although the city’s government has promised a significant improvement by 2008 and is making extreme efforts to get the mess under control. There are now certain bus routes that are only permitted for public transport during rush hour. But the lack of development in local public transport is the main problem.

Airports

Beijing International Airport is Beijing Capital International Airport (Beijing Shoudu Guoji Jichang, PEK) near Shunyi, which is about 20 kilometers northeast of Beijing city center. Most domestic and almost all international flights take off and land here. The airport has two terminals, the first of which is used by Air China and the Chinese government. Terminal 2 is mainly used for international flights. A new, larger third terminal is planned for 2008. The airport is equipped with several souvenir shops, many banks, ATMs, a hotel booking desk, a tourist information office, various restaurants and a left-luggage office.

The international airport can be reached by buses and taxis, which travel between downtown Beijing and the airport in around 20 to 40 minutes. During the rush hour, however, travel time can increase sixfold. Several bus companies leave the airport building around the clock and usually every 15 minutes for a unit price of currently around 1.50 euros. Tickets can be bought in the airport building or in front of it.

Taxis to or from the airport are easy to find and cost the equivalent of 7-10 euros for a trip between the airport and downtown Beijing. In addition, there is a fee of around 1 euro for the use of the airport shuttle. In the airport building you are besieged by various “taxi drivers” who offer the arriving passengers a ride for 30 to 40 euros. These should be ignored. You should insist on using and switching on the taximeter. Larger hotels offer a pick-up service.
In the course of the preparations for the Olympic Games in 2008, another expressway is to be built to reach the airport.

Other airports in the city are the following, which are insignificant to the public and primarily serve military purposes: Liangxiang Airport, Nanyuan Airport, Xijiao Airport, Shahe Airport and Badaling Airport.

Beijing Daxing Airport
On September 25, 2019, after a construction period of around four years, the first phase of Beijing Daxing Airport was inaugurated in the presence of State and Party Leader Xi Jinping. It currently has four runways and an annual capacity of 45 million passengers. The airport is located around 50 km south of central Beijing, which can be reached in around 20 minutes using a rapid transit train. Because of its shape with the six side arms, it is popularly referred to as a starfish. The designs came from the Iraqi architect Zeha Hadid (1950-2016) and her Chinese partners. After the opening of the second expansion stage, the airport will have eight runways and an annual capacity of over 100 million passengers.
The German Lufthansa wants to stay at Terminal 3 of the old airport (for the time being).

Trains

Beijing is the capital of the People’s Republic of China main station of the railway. There are trains to all major cities in the country such as Shanghai, Harbin, Baotou, Taiyun, Chengde, Guangzhou and Quinhuangdao. Direct trains also go to Hong Kong (Kowloon). There are also international trains to Russia and Py├Ângyang ( North Korea ), all of which go via Beijing. Completion of the Beijing-Tianjin high-speed railway, which has been under construction since July 2005, is planned for 1007.

The two main railway stations in Beijing are Beijing Railway Station (Central Station) and Beijing West Railway Station. There are also five more, but minor ones, in the city. These are Beijing North, Beijing East, Beijing South, Guang’anmen, and Fengtai.

The Chinese state railway divides the modes of transport into four classes, whereby foreign tourists should prefer the soft classes (soft and soft) to the hard (hard and hard). These soft classes are comparable to the first class of the European standard. The trains are often hopelessly overcrowded. It is therefore advisable to book your ticket in advance, especially on weekends.

Buses

Beijing has the large number of over 1,000 inner city buses and trolley buses. In addition to normal bus lines, the so-called “express buses” also run on the same lines. However, the latter do not stop at every breakpoint. Buses do not have travel times that can be reliably predicted, so it is advisable not to plan too tightly. In addition, they are mostly overcrowded. However, they are extremely inexpensive. Basically, however, traveling by bus in Beijing is more than exhausting. Buses run between around 5 a.m. and 11 p.m. The individual stops are rare and far apart. The double-decker buses save you worrying about overcrowded and slow city buses. They travel in a circle around the city center, but cost a little more than the regular buses. For this it is more possible

Minibuses are another option as they often follow the main bus routes. But they are a little more expensive.

Traveling by bus overland is usually done in air-conditioned buses. All major cities in China are served. A berth is recommended for longer distances and is also available. Buses run from the main bus stations in the city center. These are Xizhimen, Dongzhimen, Zhaogongkou, Deshengmen and Beijing South Train Station. The intercity buses are mostly hopelessly overcrowded and even use the space in the aisle for paying travelers.

Beijing Traffic

Subway

In 1969, the first city in China to take the subway. This “historical” route is, with some deviations, today’s line 1. In 1984, the service was extended to line 2 and from 2002 and 2003 the other lines could be used. Even if the subway currently has three lines, only the circle line and the east-west line are considered real subway routes, because line 13 only runs above ground. The subway system will be greatly expanded for the 2008 Summer Olympics, so that the current three lines will be supplemented by five more. The subway network is now 113 kilometers long and transports around 600 million people a year.

The east-west line has 23 stops and runs in an east-west direction through the city. It offers stops in Wangfujing, at the south entrance to the Forbidden City and at “Tiananmen Square”. The westernmost stop is the western mountains of Beijing. The 16 km long Circle Line has 18 stations and runs in a ring around the city. It connects the city center with the outer parts of Beijing. It stops, for example, in Beijingzhan (at the Beijing Railway Station), in Quianmen (on Tien’anmen Square), in Xizhimen (near Beijing North), in Jianguomen and Fuxingmen. The line 13 runs from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., travels above ground and stops at 14 stations. The route is not of great importance for tourists, because only the stop “Wudaokou” is interesting for everyone who wants to see the old and the summer palace.

U-Bahn trains run between 5:10 a.m. and 11:40 p.m. and every 3 to 4 minutes during rush hour and every 8 minutes at low-traffic times. Unfortunately, they are often hopelessly overcrowded. You buy tickets in the underground stations and have them validated before you start your journey. You pay 3 yuan for a ride on the subway. The amount is charged regardless of the distance traveled.

Elevated or S-Bahn

Beijing’s S-Bahn exists as an elevated train, but is rarely used due to its high prices. Line 13 is actually counted as part of the subway, but is strictly speaking an S-Bahn, as it only runs above ground. It runs in a ring through the north of Beijing and connects to the subway line 2. Line 13 connects the center of Beijing with the northern parts of the city. The Batong Line also runs above ground and is served by air-conditioned trains. It connects the east of Beijing with the center.

Taxi

Taxis can be found everywhere in Beijing, but the drivers do not respond to loud calls like in Europe, so you have to go to the taxi stand where the drivers are waiting in front of the car. The kilometer price is written out on red stickers on the car door. Usually a basic fee is charged and a price that depends on the distance to be traveled. Short distances should not cost more than the equivalent of 1 euro. Cheaper taxis usually have no air conditioning and are less spacious than the more expensive ones. For night trips between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., a surcharge of 20% of the fare is charged.

Unfortunately, most taxi drivers in Beijing understand little or no English. It is therefore advisable to have the destination written in Chinese characters on a piece of paper and then give it to the driver. It should not be left without the hotel’s business card. Before starting your journey, you should check whether the taximeter has been switched on, because if you are unfamiliar with the area you will often be charged excessive prices. It is advisable to act as if you know the way and if you are not in town for the first time.

Taxis to or from the airport are easy to find and cost the equivalent of 7-10 euros for a trip between the airport and downtown Beijing. In addition, there is a fee of around 1 euro for the use of the airport shuttle. In the airport building you are besieged by various “taxi drivers” who offer the arriving person a ride for 30 to 40 euros. These should be ignored. You should insist on using and switching on the taximeter.

Bicycle

Cycling in Beijing can only be recommended because the city’s streets and paths are flat and there are bike paths. It can only be dangerous on the major highways and during rush hour in the city center. Rental bicycles can be rented in all larger hotels, but also in most youth hostels, without any problems, with prices ranging from a moderate 2 to 10 euros per day. When driving in Beijing, you should always make sure that you have to drive slowly in the PRC and that you should always use the bell.