Buses are still major public transportation means in all large cities of China. There are normally dozens of routes of buses in large cities. Buses in urban areas normally operate between 5:00 local time in the morning and 23:00 local time at night each day. There is normally an interval of 5 to 10 minutes between every two buses. During the rush hour, the interval is shortened to two or three minutes; namely, a bus is dispatched in every two or three minutes.
The four largest Chinese cities - Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, and Guangzhou - all boast well-equipped subway systems, with all the stations, ticket-booking offices and transit points clearly marked with their names both in Chinese and English. In every subway train, travel information is read alternately in Chinese and English.
The subway transportation operates 18 hours per day, normally between 5:10 and 23:30 local time, with an interval of four to six minutes between every two trains. The hours between 6:30 and 8:30 and between 17:00 and 19:00 are the morning and evening rush hours respectively.
Mini-buses are another transportation means in Chinese cities auxiliary to buses and trolley buses, shuttling in major commercial areas, tourist areas, railway stations and major communications trunk lines. One can stop a mini-bus by merely waving the hand while passengers can ask for a stop at any nearest point.
With large numbers of taxis running around, it is very convenient to take taxis in all large Chinese cities. It is not very expensive to hire a taxi in China. There are taxi companies in most of the urban areas in Chinese cities. Taxis are available at any time around big hotels, guesthouses, railway stations, airports, major communications trunk lines and busy commercial areas. There is the time taxi service, which is available at any time at the request of passengers. One can also reserve a taxi by phone. However, the time taxi service is more expensive than the general service.
In the past, it was not very comfortable to take a train in China. Today, things have changed after the Chinese government invested heavily in building and rebuilding railways, increasing the running speed of trains and expanding the transportation capacity of railway systems. Consequently, the operation of railway transportation has been relatively greatly improved. Many slow lines have been changed to "leaving in the morning and arriving at evening," thus improving the travel service, raising efficiency and increasing the competitive edge of the trains.
In China, passenger trains are divided into three classes - the hard-seat class, the hard-couchette class and the soft-couchette class. An adult passenger is allowed to carry 20 kilograms of luggage free of charge each time taking a train, a child 10 kilograms and a diplomat 35 kilograms. The weight in excess of these standards will be chargeable for the luggage consignment fee. Over recent years, in an effort to further protect the safety of passengers, railway stations in some large Chinese cities have newly installed X-ray detecting equipment at the entrance of stations to scan the luggage. Passengers entering the station shall have their luggage checked by the equipment under the guidance of security officers at the station.
VI. Domestic Flights
So far, there have been dozens of airline companies in China, including China International Aviation Company, Northwest Aviation Company, South Aviation Company, Southwest Aviation Company, Oriental Aviation Company, North Aviation Company, Xiamen Aviation Company, Xinjiang Aviation Company, Yunnan Aviation Company, Sichuan Aviation Company, Shanghai Aviation Company, Great Wall Aviation Company, Wuhan Aviation Company, Zhongyuan Avaition Company, Hainan Province Aviation Company, Xinhua Aviation Company and Shenzhen Aviation Company., All of them serve the domestic airlines of China. For domestic travel (if it is long distances) the plane is convenient.
VII. International Airports
In the past few years, China's air transport network has been continuously expanded, and there are now 1,122 regular lines, including 131 international ones and 143 airports. Its international airlines connect with 57 cities in 31 countries and regions.
So far, more than 40 overseas airline companies have been allowed to operate regular passenger and cargo transportation services in China, in addition to the dozens of Chinese airline companies, which also operate international air transportation services. The overseas air companies operate nearly 900 flights to China each week, with stopovers in a dozen and more international airports in China, namely the international airports of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Shenyang, Zhengzhou, Dalian, Harbin, Qingdao, Hangzhou, Xiamen, Shenzhen, Kunming, Huhhot and Urumqi. All these airports are equipped with various forms of complete service facilities, including service counters for changing currencies at any time, airport information counters and taxi service counters. There are public telephone booths in many parts of the airports. Users can dial to their receivers after paying a small fee by following the steps indicated on the telephone set. There are IDD telephone call service counters at large international airports.