Travel: Beijing, Part II – Subway System

I must admit that I don’t have vast experience with the subway system around the world. My experiences are limited to Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong and the latest one: Beijing. But I would consider it as a culture shock when I was taking Beijing subway system, for the following reasons…

Manual ticket selling and checking – yes, the ticket is sold solely from counter, and at few stations, there is only 1 person to take care of ticket selling counter. Another 1 or 2 persons will be standing as the gate keeper to manual check your ticket before allowing you to go down to subway platform. I was told that the ticket selling machine will be installed before Olympic games next year (from the girl whom I participated in her survey about the service quality of Beijing subway). Personally, I have no grudge about the ticket is whether being sold by machine or by human, at least human is more flexible than machines in terms of service interaction. However, by placing only 2 ticket sellers (1 ticket seller at each end) per station, for example busy station like Beijing Station, is a bit far stretched. Moreover, sometimes the long waiting time for ticket was resulted not because of the seller is slow but rather the chaotic situation of people who wants to buy the ticket but not queueing up properly. At the end, whole bunch of people are squeezing at the window of the ticket counter.

Other than the always-crowded people in subway system, actually I quite like the location planning they have, such as: the interconnection of each line (1,2,8 or 13) and convenient stops like Beijing Station, WangFuJing etc – definitely better than KL system. We managed to go around the tourist spots like BeiHai Park at north-west side of Beijing or YongHe Gong/Lamasery just by subway.

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