2014-08-24 14:35:12评论

Underground, underwater

By Jiang Jie Source:Global Times Published: 2014-8-1021:08:01

Beijing subway set to hike prices

"Is this transportation really for the public," cried Yan Zhijiang,a 33-year-old white-collar worker who lives in Beijing. Yan is farfrom alone in his outcry when the topic of subway price hikes isbrought up. In a city that runs on long-distance commutes, Yan andnumerous others feel themselves falling victim to the so-calledpublic transportation. 

Living more than 20 kilometers away from his company, Yan has tosqueeze onto an overcrowded subway car for the one-hour ride to hisoffice each day. "The furthest a bus trip can take you is Guomaostation on Line 1, which already takes an hour because of the awfultraffic jams along the way. There is no way I can give up thesubway," Yan told the GlobalTimes. 

Last year, Yan moved to Tongzhou, a suburban district of Beijing tothe east of the city center, to cut down on rent payments. Hismonthly rent, which used to be 10,000 yuan ($1,623.4), is now 3,500yuan. Subway price hikes, in his eyes, feel like a further jab atnon-native Beijingers like him. "This is just a rent hike inanother form. People making less money are bound tosuffer."

There is no final draft for the price hike plan as of yet, but theInternet is rife with speculation, agitating many people like Yan.As the capital city braces for a fifth price adjustment, analystsare urging reform beyond price hikes to improve the city's publicservices. 

Public vs profit

Beijingended its open call for public opinions on public transportationreform drafts on July 20. A public hearing will be organized beforethe final price change, according to the Beijing MunicipalCommission of Development andReform. 

"Government investment will not be cut, and public transportation'sprice advantage [relative to other forms of transportation] will bemaintained," said an official with the commission. "We will alsomake sure that students, senior citizens and other special groupsof passengers continue to enjoy preferential pricing treatment. Wewill also put policies in place to benefit the commutingpopulation." 

The city's last price change was in 2007, when the municipalgovernment reduced the price for bus tickets to one yuan and subwaytickets to two yuan, the cheapest inChina. 

"Annual operating costs rose from 134 million yuan to 533 millionbetween 2007 and 2013, while ticket prices fell from 3.25 yuan to 2yuan," an anonymous supervisor with the Beijing Subway was quotedas saying by the Xinhua News Agency, while the city's trafficcontrol center revealed in July that the city's subway operatingcost per person is 7.9 yuan, indicating a nearly 6 yuan deficit forevery passenger it carries. 

Meanwhile, statistics from Beijing's  financebureau showed that the city spent 20 billion yuan subsidizingpublic transportation in 2013. The figure was 17.5 billion yuan in2012, more than the city's subsidy for public health care,according to Ma Boyi, a spokesperson for the TransportationAdministration of Beijing. 

Zhang Guohua, dean of the Comprehensive Transportation ResearchInstitute at the China Center for Urban Development, said that theincreasing amount of investment in public transportation is notsustainable as a part of public finance, while inadequate revenuefrom the Beijing subway makes it difficult for the government tocontinue improving the system. 

"A rational ticket price difference between bus and subway canprovide leverage effects, so that short-haul passengers can choosebus, while subway serves longer trips," Zhang said. Current dailybus capacity in Beijing is about 17 million people, while actualpassenger flows are around 13 million, according to mediareports. 

Root of all traffic jams

However,traffic problems might remain a headache even after the price hike.Luo Yameng, a Beijing-based urban planning expert, said that thereturn of underground passengers may instead worsen above-groundtraffic, which is alreadynotorious. 

"Especially for residents living in 'sleeper towns' like Changpingor Tongzhou, this price hike will definitely increase their travelcosts, since they don't have any other convenient optionsavailable. Against the background of the integration ofBeijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the price change also feels like away to drive some of the low-income non-local populations out ofthe city," Luo noted. 

The city's current traffic problems are the result of failed urbanplanning, Luo emphasized. Too much of Beijng's urban functions areconcentrated in downtown, while "sleeper towns" lack employmentopportunities and publicservices. 

"To actually bring down the total demand [for transportation], itis crucial to create more jobs in outlying areas," Zhangadded.

A Beijing subway employee surnamed Xu shared a similar observation,saying that a slight price hike would not lead to a pay raise forhim. Nor would it change overcrowding at almost all stations duringrush hours. "But it might help change the investment and debtpicture," Xu said 

Another way to dobusiness

However,Xu noted that there is in fact one subway line in Beijing thatmakes money with each passenger. "MTR employees are paid a littlemore each month [than we are]," Xu said. Beijing MTR Line 4 isowned and partially operated by Hong Kong MTR Co, the company thatoversees Hong Kong's public transportnetwork. 

In contrast with other subway lines, Line 4 has poured 10 billionyuan back into the municipal government's coffers, according to YiMin, MTR's chief executive. 

"Apart from subway operation, the MTR is also responsible forhigh-end property management along its subway lines, which helps itmake more profits. This could serve as a good example for Beijingand other cities to learn from," Zhangnoted. 

MTR is expanding the number of lines under its management, movingfrom Line 4 to the newer Line 14 and the Daxing suburban feederline. 

In 2013, MTR's total investment in the mainland reached HK$ 8.82billion ($1.1 billion). Of the subway lines it runs, only Line 1 inZhejiang Province's capital city of Hangzhou runs a deficit, as ithas yet to properly tap into income streams from propertydevelopment along the line. 

Yao Zhan, an urban planning officer at Hong Kong MTR, said that theland development rights the company enjoys in Hong Kong are not aseasily accessible in the mainland. "We need to go through theentire bidding process, competing with other developers for ourprojects, which increases the cost of land purchases. We need amore innovative system for our future projects to reach their fullpotential," Yao was quoted as saying by the China EconomicWeekly.




1. 请问您如何评价本次北京地铁调价?必要性体现在哪些方面?最后的调整方案需要兼顾哪些因素?(个人认为,地铁调价除财政问题外,更多反映了城市规划失败,还望老师多指教)






 2. 据资料显示,北京共调整过四次公交地铁票价,与以往相比,本次调价的背景和目的有哪些异同?



3. 是否可以通过地铁调价有效缓解缓解北京交通压力?现阶段可以考虑如何解决北京“睡城”居民的出行问题?




 4. 请问北京地铁的发展是否可以借鉴香港地铁的经营发展经验?










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