electric taxis

May 20th, 2011

So as it turns out, it’s actually old news, dating back to March 1 this year, but nobody had told me, I hadn’t seen them in the news, and I saw them ‘in the flesh’ for the first last weekend – and then was too busy this week to follow up on them.

Yanqing County has electric taxis. Purely electric, that is, none of these half-arsed hybrid jobbies. The real thing.

So late last Friday afternoon as we were on our way out to the village we pulled up at the back of a queue at a red light – from memory, at the north end of Nancaiyuan, the last traffic light before the Gui River on the way in to the county town from the Badaling direction. We were waiting to turn left and scoot along the south bank of the river before crossing the new little bridge and zipping along the back road, a much shorter route than the old G110, although it is becoming more and more popular, unfortunately. And just up ahead of us in the queue was a taxi.

That’s not unusual. A lot of people from Yanqing work as taxi drivers in Beijing and many of them pay for their trips home working the queue for the 919 rounding up people who would rather pay a little extra than wait for the bus. But this was an entirely different kind of taxi. It was in a pale blue and white livery of an entirely different pattern from the regular Beijing taxi livery, for starters. More importantly, instead of the usual Citroen ZX, VW Jetta or Hyundai Elantra or any of their larger cousins, this was an entirely new vehicle (well, to my eyes), the same basic shape as your traditional London cab, but clearly a new design. And with Beijing licence plates and signs clearly identifying it with Yanqing, it obviously wasn’t one of those occasional taxis that floats in from Hebei or Tianjin. And then I was told, “Oh, these new taxis are all electric”. Indeed, they move with only the faintest of electric motor whining sounds. And having spent a bit of time around the county town last weekend, and again this morning, I’ve seen a lot of them around.

Well, there should be 50 of them, Foton  according to the article linked to above, which also informs us:

据了解,迷迪纯电动出租车最大输出功率60千瓦,百公里耗电15千瓦时,在城市正常路面满电续航里程为140公里。采用快速充电桩半小时可充满80%的电 量。按照北京市出租车年平均行驶10万公里计算,对比燃油车,每年在花费上可节省3万余元,并且每辆纯电动车减少的二氧化碳相当于每年种植1100多棵 树。

Most of that is covered in this article, which is the best I’ve found in English so far:

As introduced, the Midi electric taxis are self-developed by Beiqi-Foton, BAIC’s commercial vehicle arm, and have a peak output power of 60 kW and an electric consumption of 15 kWh per 100 km each. All the vehicles are equipped with a Global Positioning System (GPS) which is connected to the company’s control center where the taxis can be scheduled and monitored.

Currently, a charging station installed with 25 charging poles with a floor area of 2,205 square meters has been built at Yanqing. By using a magnetic card for self-charging, it takes six to eight hours for the taxi to be fully charged in a slow charging mode but a half-hour of quick charging can electrify the car to 80 percent.

But those two articles diverge on their approach to cost, with the Chinese one pointing out that based on the average Beijing taxi running 100 thousand kilometres per year, the electric taxis can save over 30 thousand yuan in expenses and provide a reduction in CO2 emissions equivalent to planting 1100 trees per year.

The Chinese article is better in that it places Yanqing’s electric taxis in the context of Beijing’s plan to push new energy vehicles:

按照北京市“绿色行动计划”,到2012年,北京在公交、环卫、出租车等公共服务领域将形成5000辆的新能源汽车示范应用,鼓励企业建立货物运输“绿色车队”,2012年前形成3万辆规模的城市货物配送“绿色车队”。同时,北京市鼓励私人购买新能源汽车,最高每辆车可获得12万元补贴。

据了解,未来3年,北京市将建成慢速充电3.6万个。还将建设快速充电站100座,电池更换站1座,电池回收处理站2座。

According to Beijing Municipality’s “Green movement plan”, by 2012, will have 5000 new energy vehicles in demonstration use in fields such as public transport, environmental protection and taxis, and will encourage enterprises to set up “green fleets” for transportation, forming a 30 thousand-strong goods distribution “green fleet” by 2012. At the same time, Beijing will encourage private citizens to buy new energy vehicles, with the highest subsidy per vehicle being 120 thousand yuan.

According to reports, in the next 3 years Beijing will build 36,000 slow-charging electricity poles, 100 fast-charging recharging stations, 1 battery replacement station and 2 battery recycling processing stations.

And to that, all I can say is:

Awesome.

 

 

still here

May 5th, 2010

It’s shaping up to be quite an interesting year. Fortunately, the situation that was proving to be very draining is now dealt with. With a bit of luck, the rest of the semester will be a lot easier.

So May Day, and a much-needed rest, came, and we headed out to Yanqing as usual. Peace and quiet. And excavators digging up the village roads. Apparently the water pipes are to be fixed up. But even with the excavators, it was nice and quiet. Warm, too.

And as is our habit, we came back on May 2, trying to beat the holiday rush. We get to the bus station and saw a huge, long line of people and no buses. Apparently holiday traffic meant the buses were stuck down at the Beijing end of the expressway and couldn’t get back to Yanqing fast enough. A “taxi” driver (not a regular, legal taxi) was offering rides to the train station at 5 kuai per person – it would normally be 5 kuai all up, but we weren’t in the best bargaining position – and so, figuring it was better to get a train than stand in the sun for hours only to get stuck in traffic on the expressway, we jumped in.

I absolutely do not recommend taking that train. Certainly not on a public holiday, anyway. The train itself is fine, a fairly standard CRH train, but it is considerably more expensive and less frequent than the bus, the new Yanqing station it stops at is not in the most convenient location (great for the “taxi” drivers, though), and if you’re taking the train from Yanqing, the station is a big, empty nothing. A large hall with an electronic screen showing the next couple of scheduled trains, a few seats, and toilets. That’s it. No concession stands, nowhere to get a drink or snack or newspaper, no entertainment of any kind, not even a TV. Nothing. So we walked outside. The neighbouring petrol station had a sign announcing a convenience store, but there was no convenience store. We crossed the road and found a petrol station that did sell more than just petrol, though, and got some drinks and snacks. We wandered around a bit to see if there was anywhere better to wait for the train, perhaps a restaurant – it was, after all, almost dinner time. There must’ve been something around, I mean, there was a housing estate behind the petrol station, but we couldn’t find anything. So back to the train station to wait.

Eventually we got on the train. There weren’t many people and it was comfortable. But then we get to the really big problem with taking the train: Badaling. Of the stations we stopped at where I could see the platform, only Badaling had barriers. Barriers and hordes of tourists. Opening the train doors was something akin to bursting a dam, and within seconds the train was grossly overcrowded and uncomfortable. Still, that is holiday travel.

Nice train, pity about the price, infrequent service, crappy station, and overcrowding. Still better than standing in the sun waiting for buses stuck in traffic, though.

While I’m ranting, I might as well get this one out of my system, too, although it is completely unrelated: I like Sogou’s Pinyin IME. I like that it updates automatically on a very regular basis, it’s easy to use, and it does a pretty good job of ‘guessing’ which words I want. What I do not like is that on its latest update, it also downloaded and installed Sogou’s browser and set that as my default browser. No, Sogou, no. I will be the one to decide which browser(s) I will use and which will be my default browser.

Oh well, now that I have the Sogou browser, I suppose I should at least try it and see how it compares to the competition. But I would have appreciated being offered some choice in the matter.

Might as well continue the string of unrelated rants: Kaixin001’s farm game is giving me far too much free 枸杞 (gǒuqǐ, Chinese wolfberry – only just learned what that is in English just now)!

Ah, I feel much better now.

And with the end of that rather draining situation and a good rest, I should be able to get stuck into the multitude of projects that have had to be put on hold for a lack of energy. That should mean, among other things, a resusscitation of this blog – or at least a little less neglect.

anuvver ramble

April 3rd, 2009

So what’s in the news today? Not much that I’ve seen so far. My boss has 新京报/The Beijing News delivered to his office in dead tree format, and it seems to me that the dead tree edition has its advantages. One thing I noticed today was a page devoted to new subway lines including cool graphics showing their routes, and, in the case of a line running through Changping, how it was going to be tunneled under a canal so as to protect both the integrity of the water-course and the safety of the worksite. I also saw a page devoted to the current round of experimental traffic restrictions, their imminent demise, and their possible extension. Oh, and female fighter pilots. Now that’s just awesome: Women who can kick Tom Cruise’s arse… oh, wait… It’s even more awesome.

As much as I love the internet and as much as I love 新京报‘s website for its elegant simplicity- or perhaps for its simple elegance- the dead tree version still seems to offer so much more in terms of layout and sheer tangibility of the news. Yes, that was deliberate.

So now, having spent so much time with the dead tree version of 新京报 over the last few weeks in downtimes between classes when I haven’t had time to read anything in any depth let alone translate it, I now find myself aware that today’s 新京报 has some pretty cool looking stories which I have half-read and which look easily translatable, but which I have to find on the dead electron version of the paper.

But they’re not the same. Here‘s how that Changping subway line is going to duck under a canal and the routes of several new lines (Fangshan, 9 and 15) but without the cool graphics I saw on the dead tree edition, and without all the new lines I’m sure I saw on paper.

One thing that does worry me, though, is the need to drill through what looks to me like a fault line:

昌平线施工最大的难点位于北六环地震断裂带上,虽然此处长度仅200米,但经过专家多次论证,排除高架和地下两种方式,最终选择地面铺轨的做法。

The biggest difficulty in the construction of the Changping Line lies on the North Sixth Ring Road faultline. Although this section is only 200 metres long, after several discussions among experts, it was decided that a surface-level railway was better than either an elevated or an underground railway.

Now, I’m really unsure on the translation of “地震断裂带“. It doesn’t appear in that form in any dictionary at my immediate disposal (and I’m too tired lazy to go searching too far), but I am getting variations that suggest “faultline”. The rest of that translated section lzh proofread, so argue with her, if you dare. But faultline? Are there really faultlines so close to the city?

Don’t get me wrong, I was born and raised in a city with a major -and active- faultline running right through the centre of the city, on top of which sat the city’s road and rail connections with the rest of the island, and several equally active and only slightly less major faultlines unnervingly nearby. But just as my Chinese colleagues in Changsha couldn’t quite figure out how the 5 Kiwis their school had hired laughed at the concept of Changsha’s spring weather being changeable, I could never get my head around Beijing being vulnerable to earthquakes.

And yes, I know, Tangshan. Year I was born and Zhou Enlai and Mao Zedong died. I’ve met no shortage of people who lived through that quake and remember it. Most memorable is the driver/general dogsbody of the oil school that served as my escape from Tianjin who, while delivering me to an oil company just north of Deshengmen I had been farmed out to, said words to the effect of “Well, what the fuck are they doing with all these tall buildings? What happens in the next Tangshan quake? Y’know, all the roads were cracked up back then.”

He was also heard to complain about how “乱 (chaotic)” the Houhai area had gotten. Cos, y’know, it was good back in the old days when everybody knew their place and the consequences of stepping out of line just weren’t worth it.

And he has a point, and I half agree with him, but didn’t I start out rambling about developments in Beijing’s public transport and the difference between the dead tree and dead electron editions of 新京报?

And wait… just how much space did Line 9 get in that article? Far less than in the dead tree edition, I’m sure. And how did Line 13 suddenly pop up at the end?

And how is it that the pictures of people involved in the discussions on the traffic restrictions are so much uglier in the dead electron version than in the dead tree edition? But still, it seems to be the same article, and seems to suggest that the traffic restrictions, with modifications, will continue. The modifications being that the restrictions will apply between 7 am and 8pm and that the 5th Ring Road (and I presume, everything outside the 5th Ring) will be a free-for-all. Also… how to explain this…. Well, with the restrictions being based on the last digit on the licence plates of cars, with cars being banned one working day per week based on the last digit of the licence plate, and that one day per week being rotated, the rotations will be extended to one every three months. An example: If plates ending in 1 or 0 were banned on Mondays, under the new rules, that Monday ban would last 3 months, and then be rotated, so that 1s and 0s were banned on Tuesdays while 2s and 9s were banned on Mondays, and that would last three months until the next rotation. I hope you see what I mean, but by no means take this as a trustworthy exposition of the policy in question. First of all, my example is purely an example and is meant to be taken hypothetically. Secondly, I’m simply too tired to figure it all out properly.

And these female fighter pilots? China’s first group has just gotten their wings, it seems, and the article suggests that their training was no-holds-barred, just as strenuous as what their male counterparts are put through. Not just that, but the article points out that 16 countries have female military pilots, including China the USA and the UK, and that of those sixteen, China, the US, the UK, Spain, Germany, Israel, and Pakistan have already trained female fighter pilots. It also claims that the first female fighter pilots made their apperance in the Soviet airforce in World War 2, with some even becoming ‘aces’ by shooting down five or more enemy aircraft. Apart from them, American and UK female fighter pilots have undertaken combat missions. The USA has the largest number of female fighter pilots, with 300 in the airforce who have been able to undertake combat missions since 1993.

Alright, I think that’s more than enough rambling for now. I still think the dead tree edition of 新京报 is better than the dead electron version, but whatever. I’ll enjoy the joys of paper and pass on what I like in electrons.

more subways

February 28th, 2009

I long since gave up reading articles on the expansion of Beijing’s subway system because they’re so repititive, but today I opened this one in 新京报/The Beijing News and decided, why not?:

5条地铁线明年将通车

5 new subway lines open next year

明年北京将有5条地铁新线建成通车,包括大兴线、亦庄线、昌平线一期、房山线以及15号线一期,6号线、8号线及9号线也有望分段开通运营。昨日召开的“2009中国城市轨道交通关键技术论坛”上,北京市交通委相关负责人透露了上述消息。

Next year construction of 5 new subway lines in Beijing, the Daxing Line, Yizhuan Line, Phase 1 of the Changping Line, the Fangshan Line as well as Phase 1 of Line 15, will be complete and they will be open to traffic. Segments of Line 6, Line 8 and Line 9 hopefully will also be open to traffic. The relevant person in charge at the Beijing municipal transport committee revealed this information at the “2009 Chinese Urban Rail Key Technology Forum” held yesterday.

The rest I don’t really want to translate, it’s the same old fluff, but it does, naturally, come with some pretty impressive statistics:

…确保2010年实现地铁开通300公里,2012年达到420公里,2015年达到561公里。今年至2015年这7年间,轨道交通建设总投资将达2080亿元,其中今年计划投资389亿元,明年计划投资511亿元。

…ensure the realisation of having 300 kilometres of subway line running in 2010, reaching 420 kilometres in 2012 and 561 kilometres in 2015. In the seven years from this year to 2015, the total amount invested in rail transport construction will reach 208 billion yuan, of which 38.9 billion is planned to be invested this year and 51.1 billion next year.

Wow.

Also, taken randomly from parts of the article I didn’t translate:

  • There are currently 7 lines under construction, and within the year the number of lines under construction will reach 13, with a total length of 317 kilometres and 206 stations.
  • The subway system currently handles 23% of public transport passenger volume. That is planned to be over 50% by 2015.
  • The subway network will very comprehensively cover the downtown area in 2015, and there will be 7 lines coming into the city centre from the outer suburbs.

new buses

February 10th, 2009

New buses, but not just new buses, new new energy buses, says 新京报/The Beijing News. I’m feeling too lazy to translate the whole thing, I’ll just summarise- which will amount to little more than repeating a few numbers:

It says that Beijing Public Transport Group/北京市公交集团 will buy 910 new energy buses this year, of which 50 will be purely electric powered and 860 hybrid. The first 50 of these new buses should hit the streets at the end of March, and will mainly be used on downtown routes. They will mostly be made by Foton and Jinghua, and two prototypes have already left the factory. The purely electric buses cost 2 million yuan each, while the hybrids cost 1 million.

In addition, Beijing will buy 30 new energy environmental protection vehicles- I assume that means rubbish trucks. Apparently there are already 60 purely electric and hybrid vehicles on Beijing’s streets (obviously that number does not include electric bicycles), so these new purchases will bring the total number of such vehicles to 1000 by the year’s end.

And some more impressive numbers: Since 2005, Beijing has retired 11 thousand old buses and replaced them with 13 thousand environmentally-friendly buses, and currently has a total of 20,877 buses.

finally!

December 29th, 2008

The Qianmen trams are finally going to start running! According to that report, all is ready and they’ll go into regular service on New Year’s Day. I’ll be up in Yanqing then, of course, but I think I’ll sneak off one afternoon after we get back to check out the trams.

Why? Because there’s something fundamentally cool about trams, that’s why. Even if they are just tourist attractions that run a mere 800 metres.

shopping

November 30th, 2008

This weekend must be the first time ever we’ve been out shopping and come home spending more money on me than on lzh. It’s an odd feeling. Yesterday was the trip out to Zhongguancun to buy the new laptop. 6550 元 for a Lenovo Thinkpad R400, 250 元 for an extra G of memory, maybe of the RAM kind, but I’m not sure. Today we went round to the Fangzhuang branch of 贵友/Guiyou for jewellery. We spent almost 800 元 on lzh and another 300 元 on her mum.

And today was an interesting trip. I’ve been around to Fangzhuang a few times before. HQ of a programme I worked on for a couple of years was at Fangzhuang Qiao on the 3rd Ring, and a friend lived in Fangzhuang proper for a couple of years. But for whatever reason I’d never figured out how to get buses from BeiGongDa to Fangzhuang. Fangzhuang Qiao is easy- get over to the western side of the 3rd Ring and get just about any bus heading south. Into Fangzhuang proper is what I’d never figured out, because the few times I’ve been around there and just say bugger it, and get a taxi. I mean, it’s so close, not one of those taxi rides that’s going to end in bankruptcy court.

Google China Maps to the rescue. Using it’s public transport finding function we saw we could take the 34 round to Panjiayuan Lu Xikou, walk southwards along the 2nd Ring then across the overbridge, take the 37, slightly less than 6 km all up. Sweet as.

Except that the 34 is often a little less than reliable on the weekends and can leave people waiting for a long time. And the longer you have to wait for the bus, the more people there are on it. Well, the 34’s terminal is just round the corner from us, so when it eventually showed up, it wasn’t too crowded. Then, as always, there was the weekend crush at the Panjiayuan market, but we got through that quickly enough and down to the end of the road. Crossing over to look for the 37s stop was easy enough, but of course, there are never many buses on the 2nd Ring. Still, we did discover there were two other buses heading Fangzhuang-wards, the 800 and the 434. But the 37 eventually showed up and before long we were on our way again.

lzh had scouted out a store in Guiyou that was selling gold cheap- well, cheaper than most, at least, and so we made a beeline for their counter. But it seems most of their clientele are mafiosi, or perhaps pimps. It wasn’t easy finding a ring that was small enough for lzh to lift and tasteful enough for me to allow her to wear. Then she decided that the ring was cheap enough we could afford her a necklace. Except most of the necklaces they had would’ve broken her neck had we found a crane to lift it on to her. The smallest were in the gangsta rapper range. Earrings. We had much more success with earrings, and we got her mum a pair, too.

Jewellery successfully bought, we got some lunch then looked for a bus home. To get the 34 back to BeiGongDa, thanks to the peculiarities of the southern portion of the East 2nd Ring, meant we had to go a little further north, up to Guangming Lou. The 12 was also heading that way, although taking a different route, heading up through Zuoanmen then round the west side of Longtan Park, and as it happened, the 12 was the first bus to arrive. I suspect, though, that the driver had just had his first ever double espresso. We got to Guangming Lou pretty quick.

And then, of course, we just missed a grossly overcrowded 34, and so had to sit and wait for the next sardine can to come along, and it being a weekend, that meant waiting quite some time and only just managing to squeeze on.

There are two things I don’t get about the 34’s crappy weekend service:

  • How is it that so few people have realised that if you move to the back, everybody gets enough space to breathe?
  • How is it that management has not realised that they need more buses running on weekends? I mean, you’re hardly going to encourage people to leave their cars at home on weekends when the traffic restrictions don’t apply if you don’t have enough buses running.

Now, I haven’t spent a huge amount of time in Fangzhuang, but the few times I’ve been down that way I’ve been quite impressed. Today for lunch I took lzh off to find a restaurant my friend who used to live their took me to once. That meant a walk from Guiyou, a couple of hundred metres east of the Fangzhuang roundabout, down to the Wumei a couple of hundred metres on the other side, and the walk reconfirmed my favourable impression of the place. It’s bustling and developed but feels like a well-established community, unlike, say, the CBD which is bustling, developed and cold and inhumane. On the KFC index, Fangzhuang scores pretty well, with two KFC’s, a Pizza Hutt (two if you count the little store which seemed to handle the deliveries), a McDonalds and a Starbucks. Plenty of big, fancy restaurants, including a branch of Quanjude, lots of smaller places, too. There’s a Guiyou (obviously), a Carrefour and the biggest Wumei I’ve ever seen. There’s a park and a sports ground and plenty of local people out strolling, dining, playing, shopping, or just hanging out. And there was Der Landgraf with its huge Bitburger Bier signs, but looking just a little too sinicised in its aesthetic for me to believe it would offer an entirely genuine German experience.

And then there was the restaurant I took lzh to for lunch today. 马华牛肉面, if I remember rightly. It’s a fastfood joint specialising in food from China’s far west, with decidedly Xinjiang overtones. When we walked in it was packed, but with still a few available seats, which is always a good sign. I’d gone their once before with a couple of friends, but in the evening when there was more space for us to relax over large quantities of roast bits of dead sheep and chuan’r washed down with nice, cold beer. That meal ended with so much oil and grease on the dishes and table and soaked into used serviettes it could’ve and should’ve been used to run the boss’ car for the next week. And damn did it taste good. Lunch today was just as tasty, but with a slightly smaller oil slick left at the end.

And although it seems, at first, to be rather remote, stuck down at the southern end of the city, Fangzhuang is actually in a pretty sweet location. It has plenty of buses and the Subway Line 5 running down its western side, and it’s an easy bike ride- or a leisurely stroll, even- from Yongdingmen and the south gate of the Temple of Heaven.

In other words, Fangzhuang, judging by my admittedly limited experience, is just the kind of place I could live. Except, of course, that lzh and I are quite happy in our little corner over here by BeiGongDa.

Oh, and I almost forgot: We managed to pick up a copy of Obama’s The Audacity of Hope translated into Chinese. Um, yeah, I’m not sure of its legality. Nor its accuracy. But it looks genuine, y’know, like maybe it fell of the back of a truck, rather than just straight-out pirated or faked.

Rare and overcrowded buses aside, it’s been a pretty good day. Now if I’d managed to get some more essays marked, it would be both good and productive….. Oh well.

big new subway

November 17th, 2008

Thanks to commenter James Davies for alerting me to the big news in 新京报/The Beijing News that next year Beijing could have 13 new subway lines under construction. Now, it’s already 9 pm, Monday is my busiest day, and I have class at 8 tomorrow morning, and the computer I’m using does a piss-poor job of rendering Chinese, so I don’t really want to translate the whole article, but James says:

It says if you include the work already started on line 7, next year work’ll be underway on a total of 13, read it, 13 new subway lines (think they’re including the what will presumably be ‘light rail’ Fangshan, and other such lines, but anyway).

I read in the article given pretty huge importance on 新京报/The Beijing News’ front page:

明年一季度,7号线、14号线、15号线一期、昌平线、房山线和西郊线将确定开工建设。同时,争取明年开工的还有市郊铁路S1线。

In the first quarter of next year, the start dates of construction on Line 7, Line 14, the first phase of Line 15, the Changping Line, the Fangshan Line and the Western Suburbs Line will be decided. At the same time, the start date of construction on the suburban rail S1 Line has still to be decided.

此外,北京市今年在建地铁线路有7条,分别为地铁4号线、10号线二期、8号线二期、6号线一期、9号线、大兴线和亦庄线。这样,明年北京在建地铁线路将达到13条。

In addition, the subway lines under construction in Beijing this year are Line 4, phase 2 of Line 10, phase 2 of Line 8, Line 6, Line 9 and the Daxing and Yizhuang Lines. This way Beijing will have up to 13 subway lines under construction.

James suggests in his comment that the first of these new subway lines will come online in 2010, but this snippet suggests maybe next year for Line 4: “其中4号线将于明年开通。

Then I come across this paragraph:

未来两年,北京交通轨道建设将加大投入,加快建设,完成900亿元投资建设。2015年将达到560公里,做到在 三环以内,七八百米就能找到地铁入口,四环以内平均步行一公里即可到达地铁站,承担50%-60%的公共交通压力。中关村、西站、CBD等地区,都将有多 条地铁轨道通过。

In the next two years, Beijing’s rail transport will greatly increase and construction will be sped up, completing construction worth 90 billion yuan. In 2015 it will reach 560 kilometres, with a subway station every 7- or 800 metres within the Third Ring Road, or on average every kilometre within the Fourth Ring Road, shouldering 50 – 60% of the public transport burden. Zhongguancun, the West Station and the CBD area will all be served by several subway lines.

The article is followed up with related news that, to be honest, I just can’t be arsed reading right now. I’m buggered, and neither the Daxing Line nor safety inspections on subway construction sites can grab enough of my attention for me to bother with at this point.

But it is all good news, and I will be very interested to see how this develops.

woohoo!

October 30th, 2008

So I was reading through this thinking, these reports on the planning for Beijing’s new subway lines are getting really repititive and don’t seem to be saying anything new. Then I noticed the map at the bottom: Line 7 and Phase 1 of Line 14 will both run right past my small corner of Beijing. Woohoo! And it looks like they’d both make getting into the old Outer City (Chongwen and Xuanwu Districts) much more convenient. And it seems Line 14 would make it easier for lzh to get to her favourite cheap clothing market….. uh oh….

Anyway, both lines should commence construction by the end of the year. But they’ve been saying that repeatedly for months now, and there’s only two months left till the end of the year. We shall see.

good news, frustrating article

October 11th, 2008

This article in 新京报/The Beijing News informs us that as part of Beijing’s efforts to expand and improve the city’s public transport network and to match the new traffic restrictions, the terminals of five subway lines are to get new bus routes, but I’ve searched through the article and can’t find which terminals and what new bus routes they’re getting.

See, the subway lines currently operating are:

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 5
  4. 8
  5. 10
  6. 13
  7. Batong

And there’s the Airport Line, but I think it’s fair to assume that’s not one of those getting new bus routes. And the S2 line to Yanqing is not part of the subway network, so that’s out, too. That leaves us those seven listed above. Which two aren’t getting new bus routes?

Oh, and the headline says clearly that five lines will be getting new bus routes, and later on it says the new bus routes will be added to 10 stations….

Will the Batong Line be getting new bus routes added to its Tuqiao terminus? Hard to imagine. And Line 8 in its current Olympic Branch Line form is so short and useless. But Xizhimen and Dongzhimen (Line 13)  and Sihui/Sihui Dong at the eastern end of Line 1 already seem overcrowded, and how do you decide where the appropriate terminals are on Line 2, which is a loop? Still, new bus routes at Line 10’s southern terminal at Jinsong should be good, especially if they come past my place- the 801 is good, but can only be trusted to show up half an hour late. I don’t know what the bus situations at Line 10’s northwestern end, Line 1’s western end at Pingguoyuan, or either end of Line 5 are like.

So, please, TBN, spare me the explanation of the legal basis for the new traffic restrictions and give me details of these new bus routes.

Also in this article:

  • The new traffic restrictions, which ban cars from the roads for one day each week, start today. I’m not sure anybody’s going to notice, though, from what I remember the restrictions only apply Monday to Friday.
  • The last buses on those new routes added to the subway terminals  will match up with subway closing times.
  • 900-series buses (which run from the city to the suburban districts and counties) will also have their last buses depart later.
  • Line 13 is going to get a whole lot of new trains.
  • And a related article tacked on at the end says that for the time being there will be no government subsicy for people buying “new energy source” cars. It seems the government is favourably disposed towards electric, hybrid, natural gas, and other “new energy source” cars, but because the infrastructure for running such vehicles in Beijing is not here yet, there’ll be no subsidies for the time being.

So good news, but I’d like more details, please. I just searched through their “Beijing news” section and so far nothing.

And yes, I have developed a minor obssession with Beijing’s efforts to improve and expand its public transport network.

And I really should be in the office marking this huge stack of essays I want to hand back to the students on Monday.