Beijing's Public Transportation Fares Double Overnight
Beijing commuters started their week with a bout of sticker shock as they found that the capital's public transportation costs suddenly doubled in price. The fare increase will cost regular subway riders thousands of yuan more to travel annually.
The new fares came into effect on Sunday reports state news agency Xinhua, which also said that the fare increase includes some discount plans.
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The new fares for public transport in the capital city include a 3 yuan ($0.50) minimum price for a subway ride, which covers only 6 kilometers. This is raised from the previous flat-fare of 2 yuan that included unlimited transfers and no mileage limitations. The price will increase with further a commuter has to travel on the system.
For Beijing bus riders, a 10-kilometer trip will cost 2 yuan ($0.32), and 1 yuan ($0.16) for every additional 5 kilometers. However, those commuters who are smartcard users will benefit from a 50 percent discount, and student card users will receive a 75 percent discount.
The fare increase coincided with the opening of four new subway section, which began operation Sunday morning. This includes the new subway line 7, which links the east and west parts of the capital.
"I came a long way for this. I just wanted to experience the launching of this new subway line," a passenger told Xinhua.
With the new fare hike, riders are hoping - and expecting - improved services for their money.
"We plan to put more trains into operation to improve our service. It's part of our effort to innovate technology and management," said a Beijing subway operator.
The number of passengers riding Beijings subway reached 3.2 billion in 2013, a 350 percent increase over the previous six years. At the same time, subsidies for public transportation rose to 20 billion yuan in 2013 from 13.5 billion yuan in 2010.