China boasts of having the best transport system in the world. The economic, scientific and technical sectors are improving quickly. It has a comprehensive transport system of airports, trains, highways, subways, ports, and waterways that cover most of China. High-speed rail lines and subways have been constructed and helped to convert most rural areas into a super-fast life.
Let’s have a sneak peek into Chinas public transport.
- Transit buses
All cities in China are equipped with well-developed bus transport systems especially in the urban and suburban areas. Bus transport is extremely cheap and convenient because bus stops can be found everywhere.
On the main axes (roads connecting major cities), VIP buses known as Gaokuai Daba are used. These buses are air-conditioned and have leaning seats to ensure maximum comfort. There also exists bus couchettes known as wopuche for night travel.
Bus rapid transits are designated lanes for public transport buses. They are cheaper to construct than light rail or metro rail, yet they offer the same level of service.
BRT help buses to move efficiently from station to station without having to compete with other vehicles. Most BRT systems are found in second and third-tier cities, or areas with less dense population. Since most of these cities do not have urban rail systems, BRT systems are designed as the main public transport system.
Taxis are available in all cities, at any time. They run all day and night. Most taxis are painted red, green or yellow usually depending on their area of operation. Taxi rates vary from city to city. You should note that most taxi drivers do not communicate in English and it is best to have your address written in Chinese or have a person on the other end to give them directions in Mandarin.
- Bike sharing/ QR bikes
Bikes are the definition of China cities. The government provides bikes to its citizens. These bikes are free in the first hour and can charge as low as 0.15 USD per hour if you exceed one hour. However, the private sector seems to have taken over the bike sharing industry by providing QR bikes. When you need a bike, you scan the code to unlock it. You can use the bike and as soon as you are done, you pay for it, lock it and pack it anywhere. QR bikes are a bit expensive but affordable. You pay 0.30 USD per hour. The downside of bike sharing is that it tends to overcrowd city walkways and causes congestion.
- High-speed rail lines
China has over 22,000 kilometres of high-speed rail lines. They are used to boost transport between major cities in China. They help to cover distances that are too long for city buses or metro lines, while at the same time help to save up on the high cost of air travel. China has the largest high-speed rail network in the world.
Subways are used for underground rail transport in China. During the last decade, there has been incredible growth in China subway systems, with cities across the country investing huge sums in improving their transit infrastructure. New subways have been constructed across China at a highly incredible rate in recent years. Metro systems provide affordable mobility to the citizens of China. This has helped China to gain economic resilience. Currently, China has close to 30subways, 7 are under construction and 18 are in the planning stages. Another significant point is that China’s existing subway systems are also developing fast.
- Bullet train
The bullet train is also known as the fast or CRH train. It comes with the initials ‘C’, ‘D’ or ‘G’ as the serial number. It is a super-fast train that links major cities in China. It moves at speeds of 300 to 350 km/h.
On routes where it is available, it offers speed, convenience, and economy. It is unique for its size and low priced tickets. For instance, you can travel between Beijing and Shanghai using this train for 88 USD in five to six hours. Facilities in bullet trains are similar to those present in an aeroplane with high standard services offered.
- Electric taxis, buses, cars, scooters, and bikes
China has decided to go electric. The country is in the wave of producing electric transport vessels as well as hybrid plug-in cars in an effort to reduce the levels of pollution in the country and at the same time cater for its large population. With sustainability in question, China has decided to go green for environmental sustainability and improved air quality.
China has over 110,000 kilometres of navigable rivers, streams, lakes, and canals. The Grand Canal is the most popular and serves 17 cities between Beijing and Hangzhou. Passenger boats are often used in mountainous regions where rail and road transport is not easily accessible.