Well, this was not the least unexpected. The city of Beijing is introducing both more expensive public transit fares and the introduction of distance-based pay-as-you-go fares for the Subway network.
This ends the “cheaper era” of getting around by public transport in Beijing. Bus fares used to be ridiculously cheap: CNY —.20 (equivalent to less than 2p in the UK!) could get you mileage on a bus (if you had a student pass), whilst the real steal was the Subway system. With track mileage that ate London’s Tube for
lunch tea, nobody had to pay the equivalent of GBP 5.10; unlimited mileage was had at a mere 20p (CNY 2.00), as the city’s two-yuan flat fare, good for all city lines (except for the Airport Express), ferried riders from A to B whilst skipping the awful jams on roads.
The two-yuan flat fare accompanied the introduction of Subway Line 5 services in the city on 07 October 2007. Before then, prices were capped at CNY 7.— for travel on all lines, or lower fares for travel on one or two lines only.
The new prices are as follows:—
- Minimum fare CNY 2.—; discounts are 50% for holders of transit cards, or 75% for student card holders
- 0–10 km: CNY 2.—
- Distances over 10 km: Extra CNY 1.— per additional 5 km
CITY SUBWAY NETWORK
- Minimum fare CNY 3.— (on par with Shanghai)
- 0–6 km: CNY 3.—
- 6–12 km: CNY 4.—
- 12–22 km: CNY 5.—
- 22–32 km: CNY 6.—
- Distances over 32 km: Extra CNY 1.— per 20 km
It pays, then, to use a Beijing transit card (Yikatong), as you get discounts for moderate frequent use, but not for obvious misuse.
Riders who pay more than CNY 100.— in one calendar month will get a 20% discount; this becomes a 50% discount at CNY 150.—. Discounts no longer apply after consumption records hit CNY 400.—, to prevent abuse of the system (where touts might sell “50% cards” at sky-high prices).