Beijing’s transport card is a breeze to use. From the public buses to the metro, you don’t have to figure out prices. Just swipe, go and recharge it when its value runs down.
Taking public transport also means never having to contend with taxi snatchers
But when you travel to another Chinese city, you’re completely clueless. Is it still a 2RMB flat charge for buses? Or 1RMB for non-air-conditioned buses? And most importantly: Can I pay by WeChat or do I really have to carry cash again? It's for this reason that when we head out of Beijing, we stick to taking taxis.
Well, the good news is that by year’s end, you will be able to use your Beijing transport card almost anywhere in China. Beijing is actually late to the game. This nation-wide initiative has already rolled out in 245 cities. Apparently Beijing’s metro network is currently making upgrades but will soon join in with the remaining 14 other cities still unconnected to the national network by the end of 2019. It will come for sure. Beijing’s transport authority is already selling commemorative cards on its Tmall store
T-union logo on these commemorative cards on Tmall
You’ll have to change your existing transport cards though, as the new cards will sport a ‘China T-union’ logo on it. You can also buy it at all metro stations when it’s made available. This is but the initial phase for a national transport card. China’s Ministry of Transport says that the card will eventually be upgraded and commuters will soon be able to use for taxis and other services all across China.
With summer on us and getaways a tempting option almost every weekend, we hope that this ‘one card to rule them all’ comes to Beijing sooner than later.