Crazy Lines For Subway Show Beijing Has Underinvested In Public Transportation Infrastructure

This is the scene from the Tiantongyuan station (Line 5) at 7.30 AM this morning. Apparently such lines are normal, and in the AM rush hour people usually wait up to 40 minutes to ENTER the subway station.

Whatever you may think about infrastructure investment across China, you can’t spend time in Beijing without realizing that the city’s transportation infrastructure is woefully overcapacity, even after all of the 2008 Olympic upgrades. 20 million people have a lot of needs…

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  • Jesse Warren

    That’s absolutely crazy. Glad my commute is just next door…

  • Kailing3

    Yeap, I was lliving for a time in a nice place (shangdi) that became a bit nightmarish. Before, line 13 was ok, with full, but not sardine pack cars during peak times. Then you start to add lines to the north that finish in some stations around the line… and you have trouble. They should have thought about developing the light suburban train, instead of simply extending the metro lines to the suburb. It doesn’t matter if you are going 2-3 stations or just to Beijing Central you have to take the metro. A dedicated commuter train net will ease the situation, as you will divide between people who go “nearby” from those who are in for a longer ride. Japan has an awesome system, efficient and convenient, Madrid is not bad, Taipei is getting better, Shanghai much better than Beijing.

    Adding lines (and in a weird distribution N-S, E-W, no lines crossing the city in NW-SE or NE-SW fashion) will not help if you overburden the former lines (line10 and line 13 situation in Zhizhunlu, line 4 and 13 with line 2 in Xizhimen…). Also some of the venues were not designed (2-3 years ago!) to handle such amount of people. Only one staircase to change lines, walkways and stairs 2 meters wide…). 

    The only solution I see is to ban all cadres from using government cars (that will ease Beijing streets!) and use the underground and bus system; In less than a month everything will be solved, once they realize the hardship they think ways to improve the situation. Until then is just a problem for us, the laobaixing.