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Xian, once a vital junction in ancient China, is now a throat thoroughfare that connects the east coast with the western hinterlands of China as well as the western Asian countries. Aiming to convenient travelers both home and abroad, the city has built a quite complete transportation system with a lot of advanced facilities such as flights, trains, long-distance coaches, city buses, special sightseeing buses, taxis etc. involved. Follow TOC to get more detailed information about the transportation in Xian.
To & From Xian
Located in the northwest of Xian, about 47 km away from the downtown area, Xian Xianyang International Airport (XIY) is the only civil airport of the city. As one of the four major international air harbors in China, it has opened 129 domestic air routes linking 70 cities within the country and another 25 international airlines leading to 18 cities and regions abroad. Well equipped and fully sounded, it can handle an annual transportation volumn of 10 million passengers.
Departing from XIY, a one-hour voyage can cover major cities in the Midwest, and all the provincial capitals and popular travel cities can be reached in three hours. With the help of international air routes, Xian is connected with Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan and 10 Asian cities including Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand etc. Passengers can also reach France, German, America, Britain and Canada as well as other European countries via transferring in Beijing or Shanghai.
XIY provides passengers with airport shuttles and taxis.
--Airport buses: Fare of a one-way ticket is 25RMB, reaching urban areas of Xian and the city of Xianyang.
Two types of taxis in Xian are available. The green ones are ordinary, while the black ones are high-end. Normally, the price of green taxis from the airport to the city center will be no more than 100 RMB, the black ones, however,�charges more.
Inquire number of XIY: 029-88798450
Xian Railway Station is an important stop on Eurasia Land Bridge within Chinese territory. Domestically, praised as “the Gateway to the west”, it is a crucial pivot in Chinese railway transportation with a network stretching into all directions. It also serves as a transit station to head for West China.
Currently, some 200 scheduled trains pass by or start from Xian Railway Station every day, including the CRH (Chinese Railway High-speed) motor train unit with a speed of 250 km/h. Each year, it transports 23.6 million passengers, ranking the fourth in transportation volumn in China. All trains running from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing to Lhasa have to stop here.
The Xian Railway Station is mainly made up of three buildings, with the Waiting Hall in the middle, the Ticket Hall on the left and the exit on the right. Many taxis are parking on the square which is in front of the station to pick up passengers. On the west and east of the square, many city buses and long-distance coaches are available to convenient travelers a lot.
With an investment of over 6 billion RMB, Xian North Station started its construction in Sep. 2008 and is planed to be open no later than 28th, Dec., 2009. By then, it will be the biggest railway station in China, with an annual transportation capacity of 80 million.
In & Around Xian
Xian has a developed public transportation system. As the metro lines are still under construction, buses are the main tools for people to get around in Xian. Altogether, Xian has 240 numbered lines, including 12 travel lines, 28 district lines, 4 night lines and 1 intercity line. The ordinary buses usually run from 6:00 in the morning to 23:00 in the evening; the night lines often work from 23:30 to 5:30 of the next morning at intervals of half or one hour. What's more, bus lines are numbered based on their different functions. Lines 1-99 are urban district lines; lines 100-199 are trolley buses within the urban district; lines 200-299 link the urban areas to the suburbs; lines 300-399 travel within suburb areas; lines 400-499 are joint state-privately operated ones; lines 600-699 are double deck or air-conditioned buses and lines 800-999 are sightseeing lines. However, as it is hard to define the boundaries between suburban and urban areas in some places, there are some exceptions.
The ticket prices are also different in accordance with the types of the buses. Most of the buses in the urban areas are conduct-less now. Normally, the ordinary buses charge 1 RMB per person while the air-conditioned ones 2 RMB. As to long-distance coaches, they are equipped with conductors and charge fees based on distances. In a mini-bus, fare for the first 4 stops is only 0.5 RMB. After that, each additional four stops charge another 0.5 RMB. The other ordinary buses are a little more expensive, charging 1RMB for the first 4 stations and 2 RMB for the whole journey.
There is still no subway running through the city, but the situation will be different two years later. Started in Sep. 2006, subway line 2 will be put into use in 2011. In 2013, line 1 will be open to the public. Besides, another 4 lines will join them in succession. By then, the urban transportation will be greatly lightened and Xian would be the first subway-served city in Northwest China.
There are two types of taxis in Xian, the common ones and the high-grade. Most of them are commonly green-painted, with the rest few high-grade black.
--Prices of the green taxis:
Starting (minimum) fare in the day time: 6 RMB/2 kilometers; 1.5 RMB/per kilometer after the first 2 kilometers.
Starting (minimum) fare at night (23 p.m. – 6 a.m.): 7 RMB/2 kilometers; 1.8 RMB/ per kilometer after the first 2 kilometers.
--Prices of the black taxis:
Starting (minimum) fare in the day time: 8 RMB/2 kilometers; 2.4 RMB/per kilometer after the first 2 kilometers.
Starting (minimum) fare at night (23 p.m. – 6 a.m.): 9 RMB/2 kilometers; 2.7 RMB/per kilometer after the first 2 kilometers.
For passengers who wait for night flights or arrive late, hotels around XIY are available. It is suggested that you shoud make a hotel reservation in advance to ensure everything go smoothly; when traveling by trains, please take good care of your luggage and valuables. Do not talk to strangers and never buy tickets from private sellers, either.
To purchase train tickets at railway stations might be difficult for western travelers, as there are always long queues at the ticket windows and the conductors normally could not speak English. This problem can be settled with the help of the ticket booking service at any star hotel with a proper charge. In addition, the online ticket-booking service will also be a way. Of course, you can turn to a reliable Chinese friend for help as well.
It is rather reasonable to shun the public holiday periods in China, namely May Day, National Day and Spring Festival, when the railway journeys would be an awful and miserable experience. Actually, as early as one month before Spring Festival, the railways have already been rather busy, and the situation won’t be better until a month after the holiday.
All the train tickets are available only in cash.
As to buses, always keep some Chinese coins since no charges are carried in them. Few buses report the stations in both Chinese and English, so keep in mind your destination station in Chinese if you travel alone.
If you need to take a bus to get to the suburbs, be careful of the unlicensed private buses that may ask for higher prices. Pay after making sure of the right price or just miss them and wait for a licensed one.
Avoild traveling in rush hours when people go to or return from work from Monday to Friday.