Great news for families who travel by subway: though subway rates are going up on December 28, the minimum height for kids’ fares will be raised which means under 1.3 meters will be free. Under the current system, kids over 1.2 meters need to pay.
December 28 is the new Christmas day as more good tidings are expected as several kid-friendly spots will be coming on line when the network expands. Family-friendly spots previously unreachable by subway that will be on line include the northwest corner of Chaoyang Park and Solana Mall (Line 14’s Zaoying 枣营 station); Indigo Mall (Line 14’s Jiangtai 将台 station); and the Happy Valley Amusement Park (Line 7’s Huanlegu 欢乐谷 station).
However, commuters should be warned that seven stations on the new routes will remain closed beyond the December 28 launch date. Principal among the portions that aren’t finished are the Chaoyang Park stop at the south gate and the Shuangjing station on the new Line 7.
Most of the seven stations that will remain closed are due to construction delays, with the notable exception of Shuangjing, which authorities say is way too crowded to allow for an interchange between Lines 10 and 7.
Notorious for its narrow platform and huge volume of commuters, Shuangjing’s mess is far from being resolved. While the station’s current capacity is already maxed out, the real mess is that the station sees no potential for a possible enlargement due to limited usable underground space.
Some of the unfinished stations have expected opening dates: the Datun Lu Dong station on Line 15 will open by June 2015 once a walkway to connect the station’s Line 5 platform with its Line 15 platform is finished; and the opening date of Chaoyang Park station has been set for some time in 2015 as well.
In the mean time, those intending to go by subway to Chaoyang Park can get off on the Zaoying station of Line 14, which has immediate access to the northwest corner of the park.