Beijing - Post Report Question and Answers

Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Yes, both safe and affordable, but may be challenging to use without Chinese language skills. - Nov 2021

Yes. - Nov 2020

Buses and subways are cheap, and fairly easy to navigate. Bike sharing apps are popular in the city, as is Didi, a ride-sharing app like Uber. - Aug 2020

I only use Didi (the Chinese equivalent of Uber). It's cashless, efficient, simple, and generally safe. Rides within the city are rarely more than $10, even on "Didi Premier," which I also recommend. There's really no reason to ever take the metro or taxis, in my opinion. I even take Didi on 2-3 hour trips outside the city, and the cost is only about USD $50-80. - Jul 2020

Yes and yes, but take the high-speed trains instead! - May 2020

Yes, they are, very cheap. Everyone used Didi: the local Uber. - Nov 2019

Subway easy to navigate, taxis are affordable, DiDi works well and there are car and driver services that are easy to use with Wechat. - Oct 2017

Safe and affordable. Taxis start at US$2 a ride and I've never paid more than US$20 for a particularly bad ride to the airport. Uber is cheaper and lots of people use it. The subway is sort of disappointing in terms of its layout, but costs 60-75 cents a ride and is efficient for certain trips. - Dec 2015

Very affordable. Taxis are somewhat scary if you don't speak chinese. Most drivers do not speak any English at all and many times don't really know where to go... you have to tell them. - Apr 2015

Public transportation is safe, cheap and convenient. You don't really need a car unless you live in the Shunyi district where the schools are. People who live there either drive to work, a 45 minute ride, or take the embassy shuttle for a nominal fare. Subways can be so crowded every day, and I mean jammed packed, especially line 10. Sometimes, there are pushers - people in uniforms who actually push passengers into the trains during rush hours. I thought it was hilarious the first time I witnessed it. - Aug 2014

Yes, all are readily available, safe and affordable. That said, the metro is often quite crowded, which can make it tricky when traveling with a family. The taxi drivers are just really awful here. They frequently don't know where things are located and it can be very hard to get one to take you anywhere during rush hour. There is also the language barrier, which can be daunting if you do not have good Chinese language skills. - Jul 2014

Yes and yes - Jun 2013

Have not used the trains, but have heard the normal ones are more or less safe, if cramped. The new high speed trains are plagued with problems and many fatal accidents -- I would stay away. Buses are overcrowded and routes are unclear. Taxis are mostly safe, except you won’t often find a usable seat belt. The subway is horribly crowded at rush hour and on certain lines all the time. All ground transportation is fairly cheap. - Aug 2011

Trains, buses, taxis and subways are very cheap. You can get wherever you want on the subway for 2 RMB (.30 cents) - Apr 2011

Trains and subways are safe, fast and efficient (although often very crowded). Taxis are sort of safe; drivers are very aggressive here and do not follow the rules of the road you may be used to. Petty crime is common on buses - one time when I rode one, a fight broke out and the driver locked all the doors, not letting anyone off the bus until the police came. All are affordable. You can ride a taxi for 2.5km for $1.50. After that, it's a 15 cent fuel tax and then 30 cents each additional km. This is the most expensive option. The subway is 30 cents (this will get you anywhere in the system, well over 100km of track) and buses cost 6 cents. - Jan 2011

Taxis are safe, but the drivers don't speak a bit of English, so make sure you have a map or a Chinese-speaker with you. Don't plan on using a seatbelt. - Apr 2010

Local trains, buses and taxies are relatively safe and cheap. - Jan 2010

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