The Beijing Metro is modern, efficient, cheap, and easy to use. In most cases, it’s the fastest way to get around the city.
You can simply purchase tickets via touch-screen ticket machines (Chinese and English) at the station, or, if you are in Beijing for a while, use a Transportation Smart Card (Yikatong). Ticket vending machines accept 1RMB coins, 5RMB, and 10RMB banknotes.
You can buy a Transport Smart Card which enables you to simply swipe at the turnstile to enter and exit the metro. It’s very convenient. Saving the need to have small change and line up to buy tickets. The card can be purchased for 20RMB (refundable), and you can top it up as you need. For a few days seeing the sights, adding 50RMB is a safe bet. At the end of your time you can return the card and get the refund and any remaining balance returned. The cards are available at every metro stations Customer Service Center. It can also be used on buses, some taxis, the Airport Express Line, and more.
Fare: 3RMB for the first 6km, 4RMB for 6 to 12km, 5RMB for 12 to 22km, 6RMB for 22 to 32km, and 2RMB for every additional 20km after that.
Most of the stations open at 5:30 am and close and 11:30 pm.
The Beijing Subway system has 22 lines and over 350 stations! It’s the second longest subway system in the world after the Shanghai Metro.
For visiting the cities key attractions visitors will find Line 1 and Line 2 the most useful.
Beijing Subway Map 2018
Lines serving the urban core
Line 1 – a straight east-west line underneath Chang’an Avenue, which bisects the city through Tiananmen Square. Line 1 connects major commercial centres, Xidan, Wangfujing, Dongdan and the Beijing CBD.
Line 2 – the inner rectangular loop line traces the Ming-era inner city wall that once surrounded the inner city, and stops at 11 of the wall’s former gates as well as the Beijing Railway Station.
Line 4 – a mainly north-south line running west of city centre with stops at the Summer Palace, Old Summer Palace, Peking and Renmin Universities, Zhongguancun Technology Park, National Library, Beijing Zoo, Xidan and Beijing South Railway Station.
Line 5 – a straight north-south line just east of the city centre. It passes the Temple of Earth, Lama Temple, and the Temple of Heaven.
Line 6 – a nearly straight east-west line running parallel and to the north of Line 1. It passes through the city centre north of Beihai Park.
Line 7 – an east-west line running parallel and to the south of Line 1 and Batong Line, from Beijing West Railway Station to Jiaohuachang.
Line 8 – a north-south line following the city’s central axis from Changping District through Huilongguan and the Olympic Green to Shichahai and Nanluoguxiang inside the Second Ring Road.
Line 9 – a north-south line running west of Line 4 from the National Library through the Military Museum and Beijing West Railway Station to Guogongzhuang, southwest of city centre.
Line 10 – the outer loop line runs underneath or just beyond the Third Ring Road. Apart from the Line 2 loop, every line through the urban core intersects with Line 10. In the north, Line 10 traces Beijing’s Yuan-era city wall.
Line 14 – operates in two sections: an east-west line from Zhangguozhang to Xiju on Line 10, in the southwestern suburbs and an inverted L-shaped line from the Beijing South Railway Station east to Beijing University of Technology in the southeast before turning due north through the Beijing CBD, Chaoyang Park, Jiuxianqiao, and Wangjing to Shan’gezhuang in Chaoyang District.
Lines to outlying suburbs
The following lines run from the edge of the urban core to outer suburbs beyond the Fifth Ring Road.
Line 13 – arcs across suburbs north of the city and channels commuters to Xizhimen and Dongzhimen, at the northwest and northeast corners of Line 2.
Line 15 – starts from the east of Tsinghua University, passes the Olympic Green and Wangjing, and runs northeast to suburban Shunyi District.
Line 16 – runs parallel and to the west of Line 4. The northern section opened in 2016.
Batong Line extends Line 1 eastward from Sihui to suburban Tongzhou District.
Changping Line – branches off Line 13 at Xi’erqi and runs north through suburban Changping District. The line passes the Life Sciences Park, Shahe University Park, and the Thirteen Ming Tombs.
Daxing Line – extends Line 4 south to suburban Daxing District.
Fangshan Line – extends Line 9 south from Guogongzhuang to Fangshan District in the southwestern suburbs.
Yizhuang Line – extends from Line 5’s southern terminus to the Yizhuang Economic & Technological Development Zone in the southeastern suburbs.
Airport Express – connects the Beijing Capital International Airport, 27 km (17 mi) northeast of the city, with Line 10 at Sanyuanqiao and Lines 2 and 13 at Dongzhimen.
Xijiao Line – extends Line 10 – it’s a modern above-ground tram which is perfect for sightseeing as it passes the Summer Palace, the Beijing Botanical Garden, and terminates at Fragrant Hills Park.
Yanfang Line – extends the Fangshan Line – Terminating in Yangshan and servicing 9 stations over 16.6 km, it is the country’s first driverless subway.
Line S1 – extends Line 1 from Pingguoyuan station – Interestingly it’s a maglev line, but not a super fast line like Shanghai, this one tops out at 100kph. The line connects a lot of historic attractions in the area inc. Lingguang Temple, Fahai Temple, Jieshi Village, and Housangyu Village.