Beijing's subway and buses can't meet demand

Beijing's subway and buses can't meet demand
People wait in long lines outside the Tiantongyuan subway station on an early morning in Beijing.

CHINA- Beijing resident Shi Chao leaves home before 7 am and waits for the bus to take him to the subway station. He then transfers from Line 1 to Line 10, passing 22 stations. The trip takes at least 50 minutes in a packed carriage where he can hardly move.

After that, it is another crowded bus ride in traffic jams before he reaches his office.

Shi's daily commute from his apartment outside the capital's West Fifth Ring Road to his company near the Northeast Fourth Ring Road takes him about two hours covering more than 50 kilometers.

The 28-year-old has been going through the ordeal since 2009, when he arrived in Beijing from his hometown in Shanxi province.

"It's quite common to wait for several subway carriages before I manage to squeeze into a spot on one of them," Shi said.

"Fortunately, I've got used to this daily 'long march'," he said, referring to the historic 10,000-km trek of the Chinese communists in their fight against the Nationalist forces.

Shi is just one of the millions of commuters in the Chinese capital who battle daily with rush hour through a fast-developing but increasingly strained public transport system.

Xu Fang, who lives in Yanjiao at the border area between Beijing and Hebei province, spends about two hours every day taking taxis and the subway to her office in the northeast of the capital, in the opposite direction of her home.

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