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The Beijing Subway ( ) is a rapid transit rail network that serves the urban and suburban districts of Beijing municipality. The subway's first line opened in 1971, and the network now has 9 lines, 147 stations and 228 km of tracks in operation and delivers over 4 million rides per day. It is the oldest and busiest subway in mainland China, and the second longest after the Shanghai Metro. Since the newest line, Line 4, entered operation on September 28, 2009, daily ridership has exceeded 5 million. The existing network still cannot adequately meet the city's mass transit needs and is undergoing rapid expansion. Overall, plans call for 19 lines and 561 km of tracks in operation by 2015. The Chinese government's ¥4 trillion economic stimulus package has accelerated subway construction. In addition to 9 lines already under construction, work is set to begin on 3 new lines in 2009, and the entire network will double in size to 420 km by 2012.


A single-ride farecard
A flat fare of RMB 2.00 with unlimited transfers applies to all lines except the Airport Express, which costs ¥25.00. Children less than 1.2m in height ride for free when accompanied by a paying adult.

All lines now collect fares through automatic fare collection (AFC) machines that accept single-ride tickets and the Beijing Yikatong, an integrated circuit card (ICC card) that can store credit for multiple rides, which can also be used increasingly as e-money. Riders can purchase tickets and add credit to Yikatong at ticket counters and vending machines in every station. Yikatong is also accepted on many city buses.

The use of tickets hand checked by clerks was phased out on June 9, 2008. Before the flat fare was introduced on October 7, 2007, fares ranged from ¥3 to ¥5 (and a ride on the entire network went up to ¥7 on two tickets), depending on the line and the number of transfers.

Hours of Operation

The subway is generally closed after midnight, unless a special occasion prompts extended operating hours. The first trains depart terminals at around 5 am and the last leaves at around 11 pm. For precise hours and frequency of service, check the official schedule [64661].


A type DKZ4 Line 1 train at Wangfujing.
Platform of Tian'anmen East Station
Airport Express at Terminal 3
Airport Express train
Beijing's subway lines generally follow the checkerboard layout of the city. Most lines run parallel or perpendicular to each other and intersect at right angles.

Lines in Operation

Line and Colour Terminals (District) Line opened
(newest section)
Length (km) Stations (surface stations) Transfers
Line 1 Pingguoyuan (Shijingshanmarker) - Sihui East (Chaoyangmarker) 1971 (1999) 30.4 23 (2) 2, 4, 5, 10, Batong
Batong Line Sihui (Chaoyangmarker) -
Tuqiao (Tongzhou)
2003 18.9 13 (13) 1
Line 2 Loop line through Xizhimen (Xichengmarker) & Beijing Railway Stationmarker (Dongcheng) 1971 (1987) 23.1 18 1, 4, 5, 13, Airport
Line 4 Anheqiao North (Haidianmarker) - Gongyixiqiao (Fengtaimarker) 2009 28.2 24 (1) 1, 2, 10, 13
Line 5 Tiantongyuan North (Changpingmarker) - Songjiazhuang (Fengtaimarker) 2007 27.6 23 (7) 1, 2, 10, 13
Line 8 Beitucheng - South Gate of Forest Park (Chaoyangmarker) 2008 4.5 4 10
Line 10 Bagou (Haidianmarker) -
Jinsong (Chaoyangmarker)
2008 24.7 22 1, 4, 5, 8, 13, Airport
Line 13 Xizhimen (Xichengmarker)- Dongzhimen (Dongchengmarker) 2002 (2003) 40.9 16 (15) 2, 4, 5, 10, Airport
Airport Express Dongzhimen (Dongchengmarker) –
Capital Airportmarker (Chaoyangmarker)
2008 28.1 4 (2) 2, 10, 13

Lines under construction

In addition to the nine lines currently in operation, there are at least 9 lines with about 220km of track length now under construction. Work on Lines 7 and 14, and the Western Suburban Line is set to begin in 2009. Overall, Beijing's rapid transit rail network is expected to reach 561 km in length by 2015.
The new lines will significantly expand the subway's coverage, especially south and west of the city. Running parallel to Line 5 but further west will be Line 9. Flanking either side of Line 1 will be Line 6 and Line 7. Line 10, when fully completed, will form a complete loop around Line 2. Line 8 will extend the Olympic Branch Line north to Line 13 and south to Line 2. Line 14 will run from the southwest to the northeast. The Daxing, Yizhuang, Fangshan, Changping and Western Suburban Lines will connect outlying districts to the Beijing Subway.

Line Terminals
Route Description Const.
Line 6
Phase I
Wulu (Haidianmarker) - Cangfang (Tongzhou) east-west line north of Line 1 since

2012 30.1 22
Line 8 Phase II Huoying North (Changpingmarker) – Museum of Art (Dongcheng) Extends Olympic Branch Line north to Line 13 and south to Drum Tower and Gallery of Art inside Line 2 since

2012 17.3 12
Line 9 National Library (Haidianmarker) -
Guogongzhuang (Fengtaimarker)
north-south line west of Line 4 through Beijing West Railway Stationmarker since

2012 16.5 13
Line 10
Phase II
Jinsong Station (Chaoyang) -
Bagou Station (Haidianmarker)
"L"-shaped route completing the Line 10 loop to the south and west. since

2012 32.5 23
Line 15
Phase I
Section 1
Section 2
Section 3

Wangjing West - Houshayu
Houshayu - Fengbo
Beishatan - Wangjing West

middle section of Line 15(I)
Shunyimarker section of Line 15(I)
Chaoyangmarker section of Line 15(I)





38.3 18
Daxing Line Gongyixiqiao (Fengtaimarker) - Tiangongyuan (Daxingmarker) from southern terminus of Line 4 to Daxing District. since
Dec. 28
21.7 11
Yizhuang Line Songjiazhuang (Fengtaimarker) - Yizhuang Railway Station (Tongzhou) light rail from southern terminus of Line 5 to Yizhuang Industrial Park. since

2010 23.3 14
Suzhuang Dajie (Fangshanmarker) -
Guogongzhuang (Fengtaimarker)
light rail from Fangshan District to southern terminus of Line 9 since

1, 2009
Dec. 31
24.7 11

Phase I
Xi'erqi - Chengnan (Changpingmarker) light rail from Line 13 to near Nanshao Township north of 6th Ring Road, just before urban Changping. since

5, 2009
end of
21.24 7

Lines awaiting construction

The following lines have been identified in expansion plans for the Beijing Subway and are awaiting commencement of construction. All are scheduled to be completed by 2015.

Line Terminals
Route Description Planning
Line 6
Phase II
Cangfang (Tongzhou) -
Dongxiaoying (Tongzhou)
extends Line 6 further east into Tongzhou District. to be built
by 2015
11.64 7
Line 7 Beijing West Railway Stationmarker (Xuanwu) - Jiaohuachang (Tongzhou) east-west line south of Line 1 Const. to begin in 2010; completion by as early as 2013. 23.9 23
Line 14
Phase I
Dongheyan Lu (Fengtaimarker) - Guangqu Lu (Chaoyang) J-shaped line, from the southwest corner of the city to the southeast corner, through Beijing South Station and then turning north to Guangqu Lu. construction may begin in 2009; completion by 2014 30 22
Line 14
Phase II
Guangqu Lu (Chaoyang) -
Laiguangying (Chaoyang)
extends eastern leg of Line 14 from Guangqu Lu north, through Chaoyang Parkmarker and Wangjing to Laiguangying, just beyond the NE corner of the 5th Ring Road. Const. to follow Phase I 12.2 13
Line 15
Phase II
Summer Palacemarker (Haidianmarker) -
Beishatan (Chaoyang)
east-west line between the 4th and 5th Ring Roads north of the city from Old Summer Palacemarker through Tsinghua Universitymarker, Zhongguancunmarker, and the Olympic Greenmarker. to be built
by 2015
9.3 6

Phase II
Chengnan - Ming Tombs Scenic Area (Changpingmarker) extends Changping Line to Ming Tombsmarker. to be built
by 2015
10 4
Bagou - Fragrant Hills (Haidianmarker) light rail or tram from present-day northwest terminus of Line 10 to the Fragrant Hillsmarker. construction may begin in 2009; completion by 2011 9.3 5

Lines under planning

There are currently plans to extend Line 8, in Phase III, from the Gallery of Art to the southern suburbs in Fengtai Districtmarker. The exact line route has not been finalized. An earlier draft of the subway plan had Line 3 running from Xiaomeichang to Cuigezhuang, Line 11 from Songjiazhuang to the Yizhuang Railway Station, and Line 12 from Beijing South Station to Huangcun. Half of the route on Line 3 has been folded into Line 6, while the Line 11 route is now being built as the Yizhuang Line. The newly built Beijing South Station has only subway platforms for Lines 4 and 14.

Subway planning authorities have since indicated that Lines 3, 11, 12 and 16 are still being planned for the more distant future, but their routes have not been finalised. In addition, a Line 17 has been mentioned in a few Internet BBS and websites with user provided content, though there has not been any official mention of such a line.

Beijing Suburban Railway

The Beijing Suburban Railway is a mass transit rail network that will complement the subway and provides commuter train service to outlying suburban districts and counties. Six "S"-numbered lines have been planned. They will generally make use of existing railways, and will operate under separate management and fare structure. The S2 Line, opened August 6, 2008, runs from the Beijing North Railway Stationmarker at Xizhimen to Yanqing Countymarker, and provides direct urban rail access to the Great Wall at Badalingmarker. The S1 Line will channel riders from Mentougou Districtmarker west of the city to Pingguoyuan and Wulu, the western terminus of Line 1 and Line 6.


1953-1965: origins

The Beijing Subway was proposed in September 1953 by the city's planning committee and experts from the Soviet Unionmarker. After the end of the Korean War, Chinese leaders turned their attention to domestic reconstruction. They were keen to expand Beijing's mass transit capacity but also valued the subway as an asset for civil defense. They studied the use of the Moscow Metro to protect civilians, move troops and headquarter military command posts during the Battle of Moscowmarker, and planned the Beijing Subway for both civilian and military use.

The Chinese lacked expertise in building subways and drew heavily on Soviet and East German technical assistance. In 1954, a delegation of Soviet engineers including some who had built the Moscow Metro, were invited to plan the subway in Beijing. From 1953 to 1960, several thousand Chinese students were sent to the Soviet Union to study subway construction. An early plan unveiled in 1957 called for one ring route and six other lines with a total of 114 stations and 172 km of tracks. Two routes vied for the first to be built. One ran east-west from Wukesong to Hongmiao, underneath Changan Avenue. The other ran north-south from the Summer Palace to Zhongshan Park, via Xizhimen and Xisi. The former was chosen due to more favorable geological foundation and greater number of government bureaus served. The second route would not be built until construction on Line 4 began forty years later.

The deterioration of relations between China and Soviet Union disrupted subway planning. Soviet experts began to leave in 1960, and were completely withdrawn by 1963. In 1961, the entire project was halted temporarily due to severe hardships caused by the Great Leap Forward. Eventually, planning work resumed. The route of the initial line was shifted westward to create an underground conduit to move personnel from the heart of the capital to the Western Hills. On February 4, 1965, Chairman Mao Zedong personally approved the project.

1965-1981: the slow beginning

Construction began on July 1, 1965 at a ceremony attended by national leaders including Zhu De, Deng Xiaoping, and mayor Peng Zhen. The most controversial legacy of the initial subway line is the demolition of the Beijing's historic inner city wallmarker to make way for the subway. Construction plans for the subway from Fuxingmen to the Beijing Railway Station called for the removal of the wall, as well as the gates and archery towers at Hepingmen, Qianmen, and Chongwenmen. Leading architect Liang Sicheng argued for protecting the wall as a landmark of the ancient capital. Chairman Mao favored demolishing the wall over demolishing homes. In the end, Premier Zhou Enlai managed to preserve several walls and gates, such as the Qianmen gate and its arrow tower by slightly altering the course of the subway.

The initial line was completed in time to mark the 20th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic on October 1, 1969. It ran 21 km from the army barracks at Fushouling to the Beijing Railway Stationmarker and had 16 stations. This line forms parts of present-day Lines 1 and 2. It was the first subway to be built in China, and predates the metros of Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore, San Francisco and Washington D.C.marker, but technical problems would plague the project for the next decade.

On November 11, 1969, an electrical fire killed 3 people, injured over 100 and destroyed two cars. Premier Zhou Enlai placed the subway under the control of the People’s Liberation Army in 1970, but reliability problems persisted. On January 15, 1971, the initial line began operation on a trial basis between the Beijing Railway Station and Gongzhufen. Single ride fare was set at ¥0.10 and only members of the public with credential letters from their work units were permitted entry into the subway. The line delivered 8.28 million rides in 1971 but remained under trial operation throughout the Cultural Revolution. From 1971 to 1975, the subway was shut down for 398 days for political reasons. Despite its return to civilian control in 1976, the subway remained prone to closures due to fires, flooding, and accidents.
|A ¥3 paper ticket formerly in
use on Line 1.
The use of
all paper tickets was
discontinued after June 9, 2008. |A ¥3 Line 2 paper ticket |A ¥4 Paper ticket for Lines 1,
2 or Batong Line |A ¥3 Line 13 paper ticket

1981-2000: two lines for two decades

On September 15, 1981, after a decade of trial operation, the initial line was finally opened to full public use. It had 19 stations and ran 27.6 km from Fushouling in the Western Hillsmarker to the Beijing Railway Station. Investment in the project totaled ¥706 million. The subway was placed under the management of the Beijing Subway Company, then a subsidiary of the Beijing Public Transportation Company. Annual ridership reached 72.5 million in 1982.
Entrance to the Wangfujing Station on Line 1.
The Wangfujing station opened in 1999 as part of Line 1's eastward extension from Fuxingmen.
On September 20, 1984, a second line was opened to the public. This horseshoe-shaped line was created from the eastern half of the initial line and corresponds to the southern half of the present-day Line 2. It ran 16.1 km from Fuxingmenmarker to Jianguomenmarker with 16 stations. Ridership reached 105 million in 1985. On December 28, 1987, the two existing lines were reconfigured into Lines 1, which ran from Pingguoyuan to Fuxingmen and Line 2, in its current loop, tracing the Ming city wall. Fares doubled to ¥0.20 for single-line rides and ¥0.30 for rides with transfers. Ridership reached 307 million in 1988. The subway was closed from June 3-4, 1989 during the suppression of the Tiananmen Square demonstrationsmarker. In 1990, the subway carried more than one million riders per day for the first time, as total ridership reached 381 million. After a fare hike to ¥0.50 in 1991, annual ridership declined slightly to 371 million.

On January 26, 1991, planning began on the eastward extension of Line 1 under Chang’an Avenue from Fuxingmenmarker with the receipt of 19.2 billion yen low-interest, development assistance loan from Japanmarker. Construction began on the eastern extension on June 24, 1992. The Xidanmarker station opened on December 12, 1992, and the remaining extension to Sihui East was completed on September 28, 1999. National leaders Wen Jiabao, Jia Qinglin, Yu Zhengsheng and mayor Liu Qi were on hand to mark the occasion. The full-length of Line 1 became operational on June 26, 2000.

Despite little track expansion in the early 1990s, ridership grew rapidly to reach an all-time high of 558 million in 1995, but fell to 444 million the next year when fares rose from ¥0.50 to ¥2.00. After fares rose again to ¥3.00 in 2000, annual ridership fell to 434 million from 481 million in 1999.

2001-present: rapid expansion

In the summer of 2001, the city won the bid to host the 2008 Summer Olympics and accelerated plans to expand the subway. From 2002 and 2008, the city planned to invest ¥63.8 billion (US$7.69 billion) in subway projects. Work on Line 5 had already begun on September 25, 2000. Land clearing for Lines 4 and 10 began in November 2003 and construction commenced by the end of the year. Most new subway construction projects were funded by loans from the Big Four state banks. Line 4 is funded through a joint-venture with the Hong Kong MTR. To achieve plans for 19 lines and 561 km by 2015, the city will invest a total of ¥200 billion ($29.2 billion).
|A model SFX01 Batong Line train at
The Batong Line and
Line 13, both surface lines to suburbs,
were built in less than 3 years. | Line 13 station at Longze. |Map of the Beijing Subway
from Dec.
2003 to Oct.
showing Lines 1, 2, 13 and Batong

The next additions to the subway were surface commuter lines that linked to the north and east of the city. Line 13, a half loop that links the northern suburbs, first opened on the western half from Huilongguan to Xizhimen on September 28, 2002 and the entire line became operational on January 28, 2003. Batong Line, built as an extension to Line 1 to Tongzhou district, was opened as a separate line on December 27, 2003. Work on these two lines had begun respectively in December 1999 and 2000. Ridership hit 607 million in 2004.

Line 5 came into operation on October 7, 2007. It was the city's first north-south line, extending from the Songjiazhuang in the south to Tiantongyuan in the north. On the same day, subway fares were reduced from between ¥3 and ¥5 per ride, depending on the line and number of transfers, to a single flat fare of ¥2 with unlimited transfers. The lower fare policy caused the Beijing Subway to run a deficit of ¥600 million in 2007, which is expected to widen to ¥1 billion in 2008. The Beijing municipal government has covered these deficits to encourage mass transit use, which reduces traffic congestion and air pollution. On a total of 655 million rides delivered in 2007, the government's subsidy averages to be about ¥0.92 per ride.

On June 9, 2008, the use of paper tickets, hand checked by clerks for 38 years, was discontinued and replaced by electronic tickets that are scanned by automatic fare collection machines upon entry and exit of the subway. Stations are outfitted with touch screen vending machines that sell single-ride tickets and multiple-ride Yikatong fare cards.
|Elevated Line 5 station and platform
at Tiantongyuan.
Line 5 opened on

7, 2007 |The Olympic Branch Line (Line 8)
and Line 10 opened on July 19, 2008
Each of Line 8's four stations has a
unique interior decor style.

South Gate of Forest Park on Line 8) |Line 10 stations, like those
on Lines 4, 5 and 8, have platform doors.
(Pictured: Line 10's station at

On July 19, 2008, Line 10, the Olympic Branch Line, and the Airport Line were opened for trial operation just ahead of the Summer Olympic Games in August. On August 22, 2008, the day of the Games' closing ceremony, the subway set a daily ridership record of 4.92 million. With the three new lines, total ridership rose by 75% in 2008 to 1.2 billion.
Construction site of Line 15 near the Wangjing Station in September 2009
After the Chinese government announced a major economic stimulus package in November 2008, Beijing urban planning commission further expedited subway building plans, especially for surface light rails to suburban districts that are cheaper to build. In December 2008, the commission moved up completion dates of the Yizhuang and Daxing Lines to 2010 from 2012, finalized the route of the Fangshan Line, and unveiled the Changping and Western Suburban Lines.

On September 28, 2009 Line 4 entered into operation bringing subway service to much of western Beijing.

System Upgrades

Increasing Capacity. With new lines drawing more riders to the network and the fare reduction making rides more affordable, the subway has experienced severe overcrowding, especially during the rush hour. Operators have often been forced to skip transit stops to avoid delay-induced overcrowding on one line from spilling over to other lines. In response, the subway upgraded signal equipment to increase the frequency of trains and added to the capacity of subway trains. The minimum wait-time has been reduced to 2 min. for Line 2; 2 min. 15 sec for Line 1; 3 min. for Lines 4, 5, 13 & Batong; 3.5 min. for Line 10 and 15 min. for the Airport Express. Lines 13 and Batong have converted 4-car to 6-car trains.

Cellular Network Coverage. Mobile phones can currently be used throughout the system, except for in the tunnels between stations on Lines 1 and 2. There are plans for all lines and stations to have cellular coverage.

Access for the Physically Disabled. Each of the subway's 147 stations is equipped with ramps, lifts, or elevators to facilitate wheelchair access. Newer model train cars now provide space to accommodate wheelchairs. Automated audio announcements for incoming trains are available in all lines except for Line 1. Inside trains on all lines, audio stations announcements are made in Mandarin Chinese and English.

Automatic Fare Collection System. Each station has between two and fifteen ticket vending machines. Ticket vending machines in Line 4, 5, 8, 10 stations and several of the Line 1 and 2 stations can also add credit to Yikatong cards.


Passenger Searches

Since the 2008 Olympics, security checks of riders and bags have become mandatory on the Beijing Subway
To ensure public safety during the 2008 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, the subway initiated a three-month heightened security program from June 29 to September 20, 2008. During this period, riders were subject to searches of their persons and belongings at all stations by security inspectors using metal detectors, X-Ray machines and sniffer dogs. Items banned from public transportation such as "guns, ammunition, knives, explosives, flammable and radioactive materials, and toxic chemicals" were subject to confiscation. The security program have been reinstituted during other times of high ridership such as the 2009 New Year Holiday.

Emergency Planning

After witnessing several serious subway accidents in the Republic of Koreamarker (e.g. Daegu subway firemarker in February 2003), the Beijing Subway removed all shops and vendors from the inside of subway stations and installed self-illuminating exit signs to facilitate emergency evacuations. The popular underground mall at the Xidanmarker station was also closed.


On March 29, 2007, a construction site at the Suzhoujie station on Line 10 collapsed, burying six workers. [64662]

See also


External links

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