Urban Transportation of China

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Urban transportation plays an important role in each city of China. With improvements in road construction, more convenient transport options are available. Public buses, taxies, bicycles are the most common vehicles for you to take. In some modern and developed Chinese cities, subway, light rail and even Maglev trains can all be considered as good ways for you to get around the city.


In China, almost all major cities are equipped with a developed bus transport system. Bus transport is the main choice, in urban and suburban areas, for its economy and convenience.

Public Bus in Beijing
Public Bus in Beijing
Inside a Bus in Beijing
Inside a Bus in Beijing
The intercity long-distance bus is another option chosen by greater numbers of people due to the extension and development of highways in China. All the Chinese cities have coach stations, which can usually be found at the city's railway station. Busier tourist cites  may have more than one coach station distributed throughout the city. Long-distance buses, running to almost all the other Chinese cities, especially the cities nearby, often depart at a certain interval. The operation time usually is from early morning to late at night, with seasonal variations in different cities. For much longer distance, fewer services will be run a day. Tickets, which may be purchased at the coach station in advance or from the conductor after you get on the bus, are much cheaper than a train fare. Make sure that you choose the right bus to the right direction since the coach station is always disordered and crowded. TV and air-conditioning are usually provided on the long-distance buses, some may also have a toilet and sleeping berth if you have an overnight journey.

Public buses are quite common in Chinese cities. They are generally crowded especially in the downtown at peak time. Traffic jams often occur in large and populous cities where the highways are always full of buses, cars and people. Most of the buses run only during the daytime from about 06:30 to 19:30, though a few services may run later. There may be  buses in some cities running through the night. Self-service ticketing buses now are very popular in the country, with CNY1.00 or CNY1.20 for one ticket. A coin box is installed at the front door of the bus where passengers get on. However, many buses still have a conductor who sells tickets to you after you get on the bus where the fare may be charged by distance. Pay special attention that if the bus is air-conditioned, CNY2.00 might be the required fare. LCD-screen TV sets are equipped on most buses to ease your trip. Bus information may vary in different cities, please refer to our section under Destinations.
Public Bus in Shanghai
Public Bus in Shanghai
Public Bus in Chongqing
Public Bus in Chongqing
Minibuses run also along the route where the public buses operate to alleviate the pressure of bus transportation. With a little higher price for the ticket based on distance you take, the minibus now plays an important role in the city's transport network. They are always packed with people standing due to its small space and limited number of seats and it often ends its last service much earlier than the common public buses.

Due to the congestion at rush hour, you are highly recommended to avoid peak times (7:00am to 9:00am and 5:00pm to 7:00pm). In addition, pay more attention to your belongings which may attract pickpockets.

Tourist buses, usually with the special Chinese character '游' ('You' in Chinese, meaning 'travel') in front of the bus numbers, are commonly seen in major Chinese cities especially the tourist cities where there are many popular attractions. They run along a special line with many scenic en route - a tour guide may be present on the bus to introduce them to you in detail. The bus trip might pass through beautiful scenery on the way.

Whenever you take the bus, do prepare small change and pay attention to the destination board to avoid going the wrong way. If necessary, on long bus journeys, prepare some medicine and sick bags in case of carsickness. Always be more careful when you are on the bus, especially when you have no seat.

China Bus Search

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- Last modified on Apr. 09, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on Urban Transportation of China
Asked by Hayley from USA | Apr. 09, 2019 09:07Reply
Does China use any other types of transportation besides buses?
Answers (1)
Answered by Nick from AUSTRALIA | Apr. 09, 2019 18:10

Yes, they have metros, taxis and shared bicycles.
Asked by Jane from CANADA | Jan. 31, 2018 14:08Reply
Changsha subway tickets
Does Changsha subway offer a 交通咭 (like a prepaid e-card with money stored on it, like the one used in Shanghai) so that we don't have to get ticket every time at the subway station. Thanks for your attention. Have a good day.
Answers (1)
Answered by Kayla from UKRAINE | Jan. 31, 2018 21:04

Yes, local Xiangxing Transportation Card is the one. You can purchase it at the service center inside any metro station. Hope helpful!
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