follow us:
site: HOME > > Economic > China Buzz > Zeigeist
People Mountain People Sea: Beijing's Crowded Subway

Passengers at Beijing's Guomao station at around 8.30am this morning
Souce: Beijing Municipal Transportation Commission Weibo

March 15, 2013
By Chen Anqi and Pang Lei

Anyone who's tried to ride Beijing's metro during peak hour doesn't need statistics to tell them that the city's subway system is crowded.

Passengers are sometimes locked out of stations for extended periods if commuter numbers exceed limits.

From late last year, the city's transportation authority started to post daily updates on the situation at certain stations during the morning and evening peak hour to their official Weibo accounts, replete with scary images of the human crush.

A report in Wednesday's Beijing News gave a broader picture of just how busy the city's subway system is. Last Friday, the city registered more than 10 million passenger-trips on a single day for the first time ever. The record for the number of daily passenger-trips on the city's subway has already been broken four times this year.

Despite the huge number of people riding the subway each day, this accounts for only about 40 percent of the total number of trips taken on the city's public transport system each day.

The most crowded lines were Line 1, with 1.54 million passenger-trips and the recently extended Line 10 with almost 1.7 million passenger-trips.

Daily commuter numbers have increased by an average of about 20 percent a year since 2008, the head of the Beijing Rail Transit Command Center told the Beijing News.

The official also predicted that this year daily passenger-trips would likely exceed 10 million on a regular basis.

According to data from the Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport, from 2002 to 2012, the number of subway lines in Beijing increased from just 2 to 16; operation length from 54 km to 552km; number of stations from 41 to 261 and average passenger-trips per day from 1.3 million to 6.7 million.

Naturally, as the network structure expands, the system attracts more commuters.

Data shows that in 2012, 44 percent of Beijing commuters chose to take public transportation - 2 percentage points more than in 2011 - and a higher proportion than in any other city in China. Among these commuters, 32.6 percent chose to take the subway. According to Beijing's 12th Five-year Plan, half the people travelling to downtown Beijing will use public transport by 2015. Furthermore, the subway network will continue to expand and should reach 660 km by 2012 and is expected to handle over 12 million passenger-trips per day.  

Head of the Beijing Rail Transit Command Center says that in cities like London, Paris, New York, Tokyo and Moscow, more people take subways than public buses, thanks to the expanded subway system, Beijing is starting to trend in that direction

Links and Sources
Beijing News: 北京地铁日客运量首破千万


Comments(The views posted belong to the commentator, not representative of the EO)

username: Quick log-in

About China Buzz

The Economic Observer's editorial staff are always on the look out for interesting, fresh and high-quality China-related content. Whether it's the latest buzz on Weibo, links to insightful articles or updates on the latest books and reports, through China Buzz we'll keep you in the loop about what's going on in the world of Chinese politics and economics.

Most popular

this week
this month


E-mail subscription

Enter your e-mail address to subscribe to China Buzz and receive notifications of new posts through e-mail.