Beating Beijing’s public transport

I think (although I wouldn’t like to say for sure) that we’ve finally got to grips with Beijing’s public transport system.

Tips for future reference:

Window 16

The foreigners window

1. If you’d like a refund for a train ticket go to Beijing main station. Don’t go through the main entrance (silly idea), but try the far right entrance. Also ignore the very nice English speaking lady in front of the executive waiting lounge who will tell you to go to Beijing West station. Hang around window 16 (for foreigners) until someone shows up. Race the ticket attendant, who walks behind seated colleagues while you fight trough hordes of Chinese people, to the far end of the ticket hall and push your way to the front to get your refund. Congratulations you were successful! Celebrate your win with a drink at the cafe outside the station.

2. There may be some kind of multipass/travelcard for the metro (other people seem to have them) but don’t expect anyone to understand what you are asking for – buy singles from the ticket machine (only 20p each).

Beijing Station

The gigantic Beijing Station

3. Do not make the mistake of thinking that buying 10 single metro tickets at once will make your life easier. You will soon discover that you can only use a single ticket from the station you purchased from, and only on the day of purchase. You’ve lost 80p but are hopefully still high on your success from tip 1.

Maybe tomorrow we’ll tackle the buses…