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New Beijing Airport to Open in 2019

Posted: 12/30/2014 11:00 am
beijing new airport

Groundbreaking ceremony for the Beijing New Airport on December 26, 2014.

At a cost of nearly RMB 80 billion, construction officially began on a new airport south of Beijing.

Located 46 kilometers from Tian’anmen Square, the new airport will serve the growing transportation needs of the burgeoning Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei supercity.

At the groundbreaking ceremony, China Bureau of Aviation director, Li Jiaxiang, boasted that the airport, scheduled to open in 2019:

…will have the capacity to handle 72 million visitors a year. Along with the (current) airport, these two Beijing facilities will be able to handle a passenger turnover of 150 million travelers a year, higher than any airport on earth.

beijing new airport

Crowds enjoying the Beijing New Airport groundbreaking ceremony.

Currently known as “Beijing New Airport”, the complex will include a 700,000 square meter passenger terminal, and 20,000 square meters of space for other facilities. About 620,000 planes are expected to pass through the seven runways the airport will have upon the airport’s completion.

Conceptual drawings show the airport looking like this:

beijing new airportThe new airport is located in an area that serves the three different regions of the future supercity: Daxing, Beijing; Langfang, Hebei; and Wuqing, Tianjin.

While the airport offers Beijing residents more traveling options, it is located much further from the city than the one currently in use. No Beijing Metro subway lines currently provide service to this area, as the most southern Beijing Metro station currently in operation is just outside the Sixth Ring Road.

To get a better idea of how far away it is from Beijing, check out this map. The location of the new airport is represented by the red “A”:

beijing new airport

This map shows where the airport is in relation to other prominent locations:

beijing new airportThe new airport’s location is 26 kilometers from Langfang, 37 kilometers from Beijing South Railway Station, 46 kilometers from downtown Beijing (Tian’anmen Square, seen in the middle of the rings), 67 kilometers from the Beijing Airport currently in operation, 85 kilometers from Tianjin Binhai Airport, and 197 kilometers from Shijiazhuang Airport in Hebei.

Photos: Sohu, Chinaso, Sobanks, 163, QQ,


Surprised? Beijing Crowned Most Congested City In China

Posted: 12/29/2014 11:00 am

Based on the most recent quarterly traffic report, Beijing has officially surpassed Shanghai as the most congested city in China. The average daily congestion time has increased 25 minutes since 2012, to one hour 55 minutes.

AutoNavi, a leading navigation service provider, reported that Beijing’s delay index was 1.74 during regular hours, and 2.12 during peak periods. An index reading of 2.0 means that you spend twice as much time in transit than you would otherwise. The index is based on data collected from 300 million devices installed in Chinese taxis and vehicles that record a vehicle’s speed, location and driving direction.

Frequent rain and smog were also cited as contributing to the city’s traffic problem, especially during the September school season.

The capital’s traffic gridlock has become so bad that many residents have dubbed it “Shoudu” (首堵), or primary congestion in English, which sounds like capital in Chinese. According to China Daily, the implications are more than simply an inconvenience: congestion costs Beijing approximately RMB 70 billion ($11.24 billion) per year, of which 80% is attributed to lost productivity, 10% to gas expenses, and 10% to environmental degradation.

According to Shenzhen News, the other cities on the top 10 list are Hangzhou, Shanghai, Fuzhou, Dalian, Jinan, Shenyang, Wenzhou, Guangzhou and Zhengzhou. Shenzhen ranked 12th on the list, with a congestion delay index of 1.97 during peak periods.

As for Beijing, officials are weighing different options to curb the city’s traffic problem, including imposing traffic congestion fees on private cars to encourage more drivers to use public transportation.

Photos: China Travel



New Subway Line Connecting Beijing Railway Stations to Open Next Month

Posted: 11/20/2014 10:00 am

beijing metroBeijing will be adding more subway lines by the end of this year to make it even easier to get around the city.

The new express line will connect Beijing Railway Station to Beijing West Railway Station, connecting the two main stations in only 10 minutes. This new line is scheduled to open on December 26.

Metro Line 7 also aims to alleviate pressure on the transportation infrastructure in the southern part of the city, particularly on Line 1 and the Batong Line. Line 7 will interconnect with Lines 4 and 5, although its major interchange will be with Line 10 at Shuangjing Station.

Below are maps detailing the new developments. First, the express line between the two train stations, and then the new Beijing Metro Line 7:

beijing train station expressbeijing new line 7 extensionPhotos: scxxb, Caijing, Beijing News


Speeding from Beijing to Moscow on New Bullet Train

Posted: 10/16/2014 5:23 pm

high speed rail train chinaNobody can say China isn’t ambitious. After boldly announcing plans to build an underwater train that travels from China to the USA, the country has unveiled another large-scale, cross-border infrastructure project: a high-speed rail line from Beijing to Moscow.

China and Russia have signed a four-party agreement that laid the groundwork for the new rail corridor. The trip will cover more than 7,000 kilometers and last two days.

Construction will take 10 years. The first step is to build a rail line between Moscow and Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan, Russia.

China has the most extensive network of high-speed trains in the world as well as the highest number of passengers.

Photo:  cmp,hku


Shanghai Debuts Flashy, Golden “Tuhao” Taxis

Posted: 10/16/2014 9:00 am

Shanghai may have finally found the right kind of taxis to serve the city’s nouveau riche, (un)affectionately referred to as “Tuhao“. The fleet of 50 taxis are driven by chauffeurs adorned with crisp white shirts, black suits, and white gloves. And in case the photo isn’t clear, all of the taxis are painted gold.

Launched by the Geely Holding Group, the new TX4 Taxis as they are called, come with air purifiers, indispensable on those particularly smoggy days, and also offer WiFi, reports

Despite the tacky aesthetic and tailored features, Geely claims the taxis are primarily designed for senior citizens and the disabled. However, with a starting rate of RMB19, five bucks more expensive than the normal rate, few are buying into the idea that Geely are simply looking to help those with limited mobility.

One Weibo user 请叫我黑人刘 wrote, “special groups are always the ones that are less financially fortunate. If this is really for them, why are they charging more?”

Another called Howis said, “if this is targeted at high earners, do they really need to take a taxi? And if it targets low earners and those with limited mobility, why is the taxi golden?”

But perhaps, there is a middle ground. Weibo user, 爱上金鱼的大象, wrote,  “this is really designed for crass rich people with disabilities.”

Photos: Xinhua;


Proposed Ban on E-bikes Not Sitting Well With Guangzhou Riders

Posted: 10/14/2014 8:38 pm

e-bike traffic electricGuangzhou residents are furious that the city is proposing to ban electric bikes, which are ubiquitous in the city and help people deliver goods.

Word of the ban has upset a number of Guangzhou residents, with even Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference member Yang Zhongyi saying it is “simply a joke”.

Delivery services that rely on the use of electric bikes are calling for a reprieve for businesses that make special use of them. Regular bikes are too slow and are only able to carry a fourth of the total weight that an e-bike can.

Water delivery businesses say the ban would “cut off the means to make a living”. A regular bike can’t carry the 9-12 jugs of water weighing 19 kilograms each.

One courier voiced his anger:

On the one hand you need to be environmentally conscious, and on the other hand you need efficiency. Speaking of environmental pollution, these electric bikes don’t pollute the environment. If you don’t let us ride them, how do we raise efficiency? Isn’t this a contradiction?

If adopted, the ban would make Guangzhou the last city in the Pearl River Delta to prohibit the use of the electric bicycle. Zhuhai was the first city to ban e-bikes in 2005, followed by Dongguan in 2007, Foshan in 2008, Shenzhen and Huizhou last year, and Zhongshan this past April. E-bikes will be banned by Zhaoqing and Jiangmen in 2016.

The legislative hearing is planned for November 1 when public opinion will be sought.


Photo: 703804


Mobile Phones and In-Flight WiFi Coming to Chinese Flights in 2016

Posted: 10/1/2014 3:05 pm

Airline passengers could be allowed to use their mobile phones throughout the entire flight when travelling on Chinese airlines, Beijing Times reported on September 29. The new functionality is expected to be rolled out in 2016.

The report came on heels of a decision by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to lift a ban that prohibits passengers from using mobile phones during flights.

Passengers travelling with Chinese airlines are currently required to keep their mobile phones off for the entire flight to stop the devices from emitting radio signals that could, at least theoretically, interfere with the aircraft’s navigation system. This means even airplane mode is not allowed, although many countries in Europe and the Americas permit their travellers to put devices in airplane mode during flights.

The new rule, if passed would allow travellers to use their phones in airplane mode when flying at or above 3,000 meters. Zhou Hong, an aviation expert, said the new bill will likely pass.

The loosening on phone use during flights could also pave the way for onboard WiFi services in the country, the report said. Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines are testing inflight WiFi systems and phone calls. The country’s telecommunication companies are also working with Chinese airlines to study the possibility of making phone calls during flights, said He Guili, director of Tai’er Lab under the Ministry of Information and Industry Technology.

Photos: College Humor 



Chinese Circumvent Ban on Electric Bikes by Removing a Wheel

Posted: 09/28/2014 10:48 am

electric unicycle

Electric bikes have been banned in many cities across China in recent years, leaving creative residents to come up with a way around the law. While some residents have gone back to traditional modes of transportation like bicycles and public buses, people in Foshan, Guangdong have circumvented the ban by subtracting a wheel.

electric unicycle

The electric unicycle has become a growing trend with a younger generation of male Chinese consumers over the past two years. Retail stores are selling the “new-styled” vehicle to a growing market of people in Guangzhou, Foshan, Chancheng, Nanhai and Shunde. They first appeared on the market in the United States in 2001.

Huazai, the manager of one such e-unicycle store near Baihua Plaza, tells Foshan Online of the vehicles specifications. Priced between RMB 1,800 and RMB 5,000, the electric unicycle weighs about 10 kilograms, can recharge its battery within an hour, and has a total travel distance of 15 kilometers. With a top speed of 16 kilometers per hour, it goes just as fast as a bicycle.

Huazai said the e-unicycle is easy to use, convenient to carry, and easy to park. This makes it perfect for short commutes to and from work.

electric unicycle

Though riding one looks like a precarious proposition, using an electric unicycle is simplified through the use of an onboard gyroscope. Controlling this vehicle is all done intuitively by shifting one’s body weight: leaning forward is go, back is brake, and steering is leaning in either direction, similar to how a Segway works. Huazai said that anyone can master using it in a couple of days.

So when too you are faced with prohibitive laws that seemingly restrict what you are able to do, take a cue from Chinese ingenuity and embrace your limitations. Where two wheels can’t go, one wheel is not covered by existing regulations.

electric unicycle


Photos: Foshan Daily


Beijing Taxi Fares Among the Cheapest in the World

Posted: 09/24/2014 3:25 pm

beijing taxi gridlock traffic jamBeijing, once famous for its garlic-smelling cabs, has the cheapest taxi fares in the world among major international metropolitan cities, according to Focus, a German publication. Beijing taxis only charge 3.87 Euros (RMB 29.8, around $4.97) for a 10 kilometre trip.

At the other end is Tokyo, where taking a cab is downright prohibitive. A 10 kilometre ride in the world’s largest city is 25.39 Euros (RMB 200.1, approximately $32.64), 6.7 times more than Beijing.

The taxi services of other world cities fall in between. A ten kilometer taxi trip in London costs 22.5 Euros (around $28.93); in New York City, it costs the equivalent of 13.98 Euros (approximately $17.97); and in Paris, such a trip will set you back 12.20 Euros (about $15.68).

Wang Limei, secretary of the Chinese National Raod Transportation association, explained that these European and American cities have higher taxi fares because “foreigners have higher salaries”.

Traffic expert Zhang Haitao said Beijing fares couldn’t ever get as high as those overseas:

From downtown Washington to the airport, it will cost about $100. This is too expensive for locals, and removes the effectiveness of (the taxi) by its price.

Caijing explained that taxis in these other countries are used as an emergency measure, and not regularly used for commuting like in Beijing. Residents of the USA and Europe also take fewer taxis because they have a convenient and effective public transportation system. (The fact that many Europeans and North Americans also own cars wasn’t mentioned).

Caijing went on to say each of these world-class cities have subway stations within a 100 to 200 meter walk, and that it is even convenient to take luggage on the subway .

At the end of it all, you get what you pay for. You get cheap fares in Beijing, only to sit in the worst traffic in the country.


Photo: roll.msn


[Photos] Typhoon Kalmaegi Slams Guangdong En Route to Hainan

Posted: 09/16/2014 3:13 pm

typhoon kamaegiThings are getting back to normal in cities around the Pearl River Delta after Typhoon Kalmaegi avoided direct contact with the region but still brought plenty of wind and rain.

A category eight typhoon warning was downgraded to category three by the Hong Kong Observatory at 10:40am today. A Strong Wind Signal No. 3 remains in effect, as does a thunderstorm warning.

A government source said 40 flights were cancelled and some 500 were delayed at Shenzhen and Hong Kong airports this morning. However, all land and sea transport have now resumed normal operation with high-speed trains confirmed to be running from Guangzhou to Nanchang. As well, public offices, businesses and schools have reopened.

A total of 17 people were injured and taken to hospital in Hong Kong as a result of the winds, with 95 reports of downed trees throughout the city. A total of 143 people are said to have used Hong Kong’s 25 safety shelters.

Typhoon Kalmaegi is expected to be at the Qiongzhou Strait 12 hours from now after having made landfall on the island of Hainan this morning. Kalmaegi is expected to hit Mainland China at the Leizhou Peninsula.

In Shenzhen, winds are expected to subside later this afternoon but scattered showers will continue to persist. A code blue typhoon signal remains in place.

typhoon kamaegi

Here are some photos of Zhuhai during the typhoon from a Weibo user:

typhoon kamaegityphoon kamaegityphoon kamaegityphoon kamaegi

Photos of Zhanjiang:

typhoon kamaegityphoon kamaegi

Photos of Hainan:

typhoon kamaegityphoon kamaegi

Photos: Information Times

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