If we’re talking strictly about public transportation, most local Beijingers prefer to take buses rather subways. In a way, Beijing’s bus system is much more developed than the subway system, so taking a bus can be more convenient. Below is a guide to tackling the buses, from purchasing a card to looking up stops. We’ve included some major lines with popular destinations, but note that only major bus stops have been included.
RMB 1 for a paper ticket bought on the bus, RMB 0.40 using a swipe card.
Buying a Swipe Card
Cards are available at all major subway stations. The card itself costs RMB 20 (you can reclaim the RMB 20 when you give back the card, but you need the original receipt). You can use this card to ride all of the subway and bus lines in Beijing.
Topping Up Your Card
To top up your card, use the recharge machines inside all subway
stations (instructions available in English). Alternatively, go to the ticket booth, give the recharge amount and your transportation swipe card to one of the staff and they’ll do it for you.
While Beijing is not well-known for pickpockets, they are out there. Keep your belongings close and your bags safely zipped up.
On buses, one door is for passengers boarding and the other one is for passengers getting off. Don’t enter via the exit doors, unless you want to get yelled at by the conductor. Doors for getting on will have the character shàng (上) and doors for exiting will have the character xià (下).
When traveling by subway or bus, try to avoid peak hours (8-9.30am, 5-7pm). For the uninitiated, it can be an overwhelming and
Bus attendants do not speak English. It’s best to know the name of your stop in Chinese. If you cannot say it, make sure you have it written down.
If you can read Chinese or have a Chinese-speaking friend, check the website www.bjbus.com for bus routes. Baidu Maps (http://maps.baidu.com) is also useful.
Does this bus go to … ?
Zhè gè chē dào … ma? 这个车到 … 吗？
I’m getting off.
Wǒ yào xià chē. 我要下车。
Are you getting off?
Xià ma? 下吗？
At … change to bus number …
Zài … dǎo chē zuò … lù. 在 … 倒车坐 … 路
Bus number …
Lù chē … 路车 …