Beijing Metro

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October 25th, 2012
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The Beijing metro runs smoothly. In the week I’ve been here, we’ve never seen or heard of delays.

Buying a ticket couldn’t be easier. Machines in both English and Mandarin, although I try to recognise the stations characters, its nice to have the back up.

For 2Yuan (about 20p) you can take a single journey anywhere on the tube network. You have your bag xrayed on entering each station, something you get used to quite quickly in Beijing.

Something you notice with the Beijing metro stations is they have arrows and lines drawn where the doors stop, where to let passengers off and where to stand to board. People queue in the sections to the side of the doors. I really like the system and it seems more British than our London underground.

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This efficiency stretches onto the trains themselves. I noticed that people would shuffle to the door when it was their stop, giving other people their seats making each station stop shorter, and an overall sense of politeness. People talking on the tube… (!)

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The station you are arriving at is lit up on each train so there really is no excuse for getting lost on the Beijing Metro.

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Oh and did I mention the metro is BUSY. Every train was rammed, except curiously the one time we got a line1 train at 8am from Tian’anmen East, where there was for a short time some breathing space.

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At rush hour they have people in the stations to keep people moving and waving them in the right directions. Superb stuff, no dawdling or crowding around tube maps.

Also, Beijing metro boasts phone signal underground. Its not ridiculous or horrendous given how busy all the trains are. Just the occasional call whilst a lot of people play games or listen to music on their phones much the same as the London Underground.

In short, its cheap, cheerful and buzzing as well as being more orderly and polite then I’d expected.

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