It's Official: Beijing Subway Fares to Change to Distance-Based Pricing

Headlines in Friday's Chinese newspapers make it official: The Beijing Subway network will switch to distance-based pricing at an unspecified point in the second half of this year.

No indication was given as to what the price increase would be, but city planning officials seem committed to basing the fare on some interpretation of "international standards" in which approximately 10% of an urban dweller's income typically goes towards commuting. We extrapolated that to hint that fares could rise to somewhere around an average of RMB 25 per day (round trip) for an average Beijing commuter, which could mean an increase of about 600 percent for people traveling the farthest.

Planners also hinted that they would develop weekly, monthly and seasonal discount passes to reduce the cost burden on daily commuters. This will be a blessing given that Beijing is one of the few major subway networks that lacks any sort of time-based discount pass.

The announcement clarifies a discussion point that has been a hot topic since late last year when the goverment first began hinting the that a fare increase was in the works due to the estimated RMB 18 billion in annual subsidies the city is providing the network. At first city officials were considering five different pricing systems, but this morning's announcement indicates that the distance pricing is the way forward.

Officials also indicated that bus fares many currently at RMB 1 per trip would rise at the same time. No indication of future pricing for buses was given, either.

In related news, the first section of Line 14 is due to open at the end of December. This long-awaited line will connect a previously neglected northeastern corner of Chaoyang district, tying the eastern portion of the CBD northwards towards Shunyi. This phase will finally put Chaoyang Park onto the subway network, as well as the 798 area, with stops right outside the Indigo Mall, and connections to current Line 15 at Wangjing Station and Line 6 at Jintai Lu.

Images: Michael Wester, Wikipedia

Comments

About darn time. All the details may not yet be worked out yet or available to be publicized, but this is definitely a step in the right direction. Tipping my cap...

Wondering about ramifications on Beijing's population and cost of life! 

some folks can't afford to pay more and will be forced to find alternatives which might not be viablein terms of transportation/lodging. 

Bicycles are fine but not to go from Tongzhou to pingguoyuan.. I can see more folks getting out of here in favor of cheaper cities

I hear ya, Badr. Cost of living in bigger cities is typically greater. The operating costs, the staff, the real estate...all of it commands a higher price. Beijing is not unique in this regard. And now riders will be paying for what they use, rather than passing off their costs to other riders and the taxpayers. There will always be "some folks can't afford to pay more" no matter where one lives, no matter what is considered. And now a lesser portion of 18mil in subsidies can perhaps be used towards other things.

Quote:
"an increase of about 600 percent for people traveling the farthest"

Don't know what any uproar over this could be about. Once the backlash sets in, there will be yet another policy announcement that reverses the previous policy announcement.

In short, its not a policy announcement unless everyone is paying attention.

 

25 Rmb per day works out to 750 per month. In what alternate universe of Bejing is the average local subway riders salary 7500 per month? That's completely ridiculous.

And for the migrant workers living in Tongzhou, I would guess their salaries are the lowest of any of the subsets, so they are truly going to be hit the hardest. This is a policy made by someone with either no brains or not heart.

What are these subsidies going to be used for instead? Considering Beijing's most pressing problem is pollution and traffic, I can't imagine anything better for the government to be spending their massive revenues on.

What "other things " should tax revenue be spent on that is more useful than addressing traffic and transportation issues in Beijing?

You keep saying this same refrain, but why are other things more important for the community to pay for than this?

squid wrote:

25 Rmb per day works out to 750 per month.  In what alternate universe of Bejing is the average local subway riders salary 7500 per month?  That's completely ridiculous.

most commuters work 5 days a week, not 7 so the calculation is 25x20 working days a month = 500

 

from 2011: 

The 2011 average annual income in Beijing was RMB56,061 and the monthly average was RMB4,672.

http://www.china-briefing.com/news/2012/04/13/beijing-releases-2011-average-income-and-2012-social-insurance-wage-base.html

The 2011 average annual income in Beijing was RMB56,061 and the monthly average was RMB4,672. - See more at: http://www.china-briefing.com/news/2012/04/13/beijing-releases-2011-average-income-and-2012-social-insurance-wage-base.html#sthash.juHr6UmQ.dpuf
The 2011 average annual income in Beijing was RMB56,061 and the monthly average was RMB4,672. - See more at: http://www.china-briefing.com/news/2012/04/13/beijing-releases-2011-average-income-and-2012-social-insurance-wage-base.html#sthash.juHr6UmQ.dpuf

I'm sure it's risen to over 5000 since then

 

 

 
 
 

 

Squid,

Relax. 1) the pricing scheme is not yet finalized, 2) even once it is, it wouldn't be odd if it was to change before finally being implemented. "..In which approximately 10% of an urban dweller's income typically goes towards commuting" -- there are multiple ways one in Beijing commutes. Does 'commuting' in this instance refer to subway only, or does it also incorporate all the other ways people get to work in this city and elsewhere? SH Metro charges 3 kuai for first 6 km, and then an additional kuai for each 10-km distance. You may recall when I stated a while back Line 1 in their system, from end to end, costs only 7 kuai -- that's a long-a** haul on the cheap. I doubt very much even the longest Beijing Subway fare would be 12 kuai (25 round-trip).

admin wrote:
squid wrote:

25 Rmb per day works out to 750 per month. In what alternate universe of Bejing is the average local subway riders salary 7500 per month? That's completely ridiculous.

most commuters work 5 days a week, not 7 so the calculation is 25x20 working days a month = 500

from 2011:

The 2011 average annual income in Beijing was RMB56,061 and the monthly average was RMB4,672.

http://www.china-briefing.com/news/2012/04/13/beijing-releases-2011-average-income-and-2012-social-insurance-wage-base.html

The 2011 average annual income in Beijing was RMB56,061 and the monthly average was RMB4,672. - See more at: http://www.china-briefing.com/news/2012/04/13/beijing-releases-2011-average-income-and-2012-social-insurance-wage-base.html#sthash.juHr6UmQ.dpuf The 2011 average annual income in Beijing was RMB56,061 and the monthly average was RMB4,672. - See more at: http://www.china-briefing.com/news/2012/04/13/beijing-releases-2011-average-income-and-2012-social-insurance-wage-base.html#sthash.juHr6UmQ.dpuf

I'm sure it's risen to over 5000 since then

There are two problems with this rationale. First off, people travel on days they don't work. Second, an average income is in no way an average income of the people who ride subways. Some people run real estate companies and earn 10 million rmb a year. They don't ride the subway. But they do raise the average monthly income figures to make it seem as if this is what most people earn. That's completely inaccurate.

mtnerror,

Why have you avoided answering the question of what is a better use of community funds if nit to improve traffic and transportation issues?