Bus transport in Beijing is constantly improving. At the same time there are plenty of tired and jam-packed buses plying the crowded roads of the Chinese capital.

Fares are low and if you know where you are going (bus maps are available from roadside kiosks) or can read Chinese, buses can help you cover some of the city’s vast distances – depending on traffic of course!

Recent improvements to Beijingzz’s bus system include the installation of IC card readers on some routes, bus lanes and the introduction of many low-emission buses in time for the 2008 Olympic Games.

In time for the 2008 Olympics, the Beijing Public Transport authority will install new bi-lingual signs on most of Beijing’s buses. Pinyin for all the bus stops along the bus’ route will also be displayed. Some buses are equipped with electronic display panels which announce the upcoming bus stop in pinyin.

Beijing buses are numbered 1-999 and there are presently over 500 bus routes criss-crossing the city. It is estimated that the city operates over 20,000 buses! 3-day, 7-day and 14-day city bus passes are available.

Buses numbered 1 to 100 operate within the 3rd ring road. 200-212 offer only night time travel 300s travel through the suburbs 400s travel from downtown out to the suburbs 600s – 700s travel through residential areas 900s travel long distances within Beijing province.

Beijing buses generally run between 5am-11pm though there is a night bus service. Double decker buses also run on some city center routes and offer good views from the top deck.

Each bus stop displays bus numbers, route stops, direction of travel and first and last times of travel.
See www.bjbus.com for bus routes and more details.
Beijing bus helpline Tel: 96166
Bus fares start from a hefty 1rmb and increase for longer trips. Pay by cash or transport smartcard.

Long Distance Buses in Beijing

Beijing has a number of major long-distance bus stations located throughout the city. As a rule of thumb the bus station you need will be located in the direction you wish to travel. Thus Lianhuachi Long Distance Bus Station (Tel: 6332 2354) in the south of the city handles buses heading south to such destinations as Wuhan, Kaifeng and Zengzhou.

Some of the main bus stations are Beijing South Railway Station (Tel: 6303 4307), Dongzhimen (Tel: 6467 1346), Deshengmen (Tel: 8284 7096), Xizhimen (Tel 6218 3454) and Zhaogongkou (Tel: 6722 9491).

It is possible to take a long distance bus as far as such cities as Shanghai, Harbin and Xian.

The offical wesite: www.bjbus.com