Guide to Public Transportation in China

Public transportation in China can be overwhelming for some people because of all of the people that are living in the city. This guide is to help you with these issues and feel comfortable traveling within China. The metro around the country are fairly new and continuous expanding when it comes to the major cities. Places like Chongqing is no different and we will dive into its transportation. The metro system is similar from major city to major city which makes the life of a tourists way easier.

Bus and Metro Signs

This photo is a CRT sign you can look for these while you are walking and it means the metro station is nearby. They are busses that you can transfer within 30 minutes and it free of charge. The bus is a set fee of 2 RMB.  The bus tends to be very crowded and all in Chinese so it’s not recommended to travel alone unless you know the language.

Transit Costs

The metro is a great and affordable form of transportation in China. It is not a set price but variable cost based on distance. It ranges between 2 RMB to 7 RMB. About every 5 stops the cost goes higher but it can’t go past 7 RMB. There are way to get even cheaper metro fairs by purchasing a metro card for 25 RMB. You can load and reload money onto this card. It will give you 0.3 -1 RMB  discount every time you tap the machine. If you are traveling to the city for a short period time their options for you too. There a machine where you can purchase a single use card. The machine has an English option so as long as you know the stops you can travel anywhere in the city with ease. You must tap your card on the machines to get in and out of a station.

How to purchase a metro card

Go to the help area and ask for a metro card 地铁卡 or even show them this picture when trying to purchase it. This is always a great time to get a Chinese friend to help you. The card’s appearance always changes so it will not look like this.


There is also English maps on the train as well so it’s hard to get lost. The maps outside of the train are in Chinese… when looking at the map the grey means it already passed those stops that’s how you determine which direction you need to go too. Transfers to different lines can be tricky because they can be far apart from each other, possibly going up and down many sets of stairs. Please don’t worry follow the signs or the large crowds of people and you should be fine.

When going through security make sure you have all liquids outside of your bag or visible. They have a machine to check to see if there any harmful chemicals in the liquid. All backpacks or bags must be out through the security scanner. These are all safety measures to protect the citizens.There a map in the train which has an English component to it. The screen tells you the station and which side the doors will open it. Each station is numbered so as long as you know the station number you can still get around the city.

Important note: every exit has a number exiting the wrong exit can get you confused or lost so please watch out for that.

Hours operation

Traveling during rush hour which ranges from 8am-10am and 4pm-7pm the trains are going to be extremely busy. The trains are very efficient, so delays are not often or only be a minute or two.  Waiting for 2-3 trains before getting to get on the train is a common issue during the peak hours of traffic. China has a large population, so this expected and must be patient. The people are going to shove, push and rush on and off the train. They almost never wait for people to exit the train this is a normal thing so please be prepared mentally as train get full and uncomfortable at times. The trains close early as the last trains normally around 10:30 pm and opens back up at 6 am.

Any questions or comments, I’d be happy to hear them.


Laowai Montana


One thought on “Guide to Public Transportation in China

  1. Justin on Reply

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