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The City Buses (Gonggong Qiche)

The city buses provide a much cheaper way to get around Beijing.

The cost is 50 Cent per trip, generally inside the 3rd ring road, generally outside the 3rd ring you pay 50 Cent for the first 3 stations, and then an additional 30 Cent for each subsequent 3 stops.

If you have the bus card, it is better for you because the fee will be cheaper than cash payment. Normally for "Student Bus Card" is only 20 Cent, and the normal bus card (non-student) is 40 Cent.

The busses can be a very interesting experience for a foreigner. Few foreigners take the bus and you interact with the locals in an up close and personal manner; sometimes too close as you can see during rush hours (6:30-8:00 and 17-18:30) where people cram themselves onto an already stuffed bus. This is not a reccomended time to take the bus, just to watch.

The routes the busses follow can take a while to learn; each bus has a number which corresponds to the route it follows. An important thing to learn about the buses is where they stop, sometimes they can stop along way away from where you want to be. A good map of the bus routes is available in the foreign language book store. It has all the routes with the bus numbers. But a rough approximation would be to say that buses 1-100 run within the city, the 200s provide night services, 300s shuttle around the suburbs, and those in the 400s and 900s go to the suburbs. At times the busses can be a fast cheap way to get around Beijing. They usually stop working about 10 to 11 pm.

Doubble Deckers

Double Deckers are for travelers who would like to get a different perspective of Beijing. There are four routes within Beijing, each costing 2 yuan per ticket:

Route 1: from Beijing West Railway Station to Bawangfen along Chang'an Avenue.

Route 2: from Qianment to Dongdan, Yonghe Gong Lamasery,the Chinese Ethic Culture Park and Asian Games Village.

Route 3: from Jijia Temple pas Grand View Garden, Jingsong, the Jingguang New World Hotel and the Agricultural Museum, and finally to the Lufthansa Shopping Center.

Route 4: from the Beijing Zoo, to the Beijing Exhibition Center, Yuetan Park, Fuxing Overpass and Qianmen Commercial District.

Mini Busses (Xiao Gonggong)

Mini buses are between the comfortable taxis and crowded buses. The xiao gonggong will usually follow a regular bus route with some small variations depending on the individual drivers.

You will see many of these driving up and down the streets with a driver and a helper usually yelling the number of the xiao ba out the window trying to get people to come in.

The number corresponds to the normal bus number which the xiao gonggong follows. This is how you tell which one to take. The number is also displayed in the window of the bus. The fare depends on how far you wish to go and varies from 1 to 6 yuan. They can be very convenient at times especially when a normal bus is full--and they are pretty cheap.
They usually stop working about 22-23:00.

Taking these little buses is generally painless; you will usually get a seat, but sometimes the seat might be falling apart or on the engine which is bad in the summer and good in the winter. Be prepared though for some unique driving, these buses are competitive for people with other buses on the same route and they can race around the busy streets with little regard for their passengers.