Transportation is always a challenge for any city that wishes to host the Olympic Games. In this respect, Beijing is well prepared. By 2007, a fairly sophisticated city transportation network will be completed. The five ring roads with linked expressways, the newly built City Rail and the Olympic Subway will contribute to an efficient transportation system.
There are three airports in Beijing that can be used during the Olympic Games in 2008. The Beijing Capital International Airport is the largest international airport in China. It has two runways, two airport bays, and can accommodate 35 million passengers each year. The airport has flights to most large cities in the world. It takes only 20 minutes' drive from the Olympic Green to the airport. Nanyuan airport in south Beijing and Xijiao Airport can both provide transport services.
There are more than 20,000 buses in Beijing. Half of them use natural petroleum gas. By the end of this year, all the buses in city will be converted to natural petroleum. There are 648 bus routes in Beijing that take 10 million people each day.
Beijing has a road network totaling 12,852 km in length, including 216 km of expressway. The Fourth Ring Road connects with seven expressways. By 2008, Beijing's total road length will be more than 700 kilometers after the construction of the Beijing-Kaifeng, Beijing-Miyun expressways. All the towns with populations of more than 50,000 will be linked by expressway networks.
At present, there are 67,000 taxis in Beijing. By the end of 2008, all the taxis will be equipped with a wireless telecommunication system and Global Positioning System (GPS). Taxi is the simplest way to get around the city. The mileage fare starts from 10 yuan including 3 km.
Getting around by bicycle is an option. While the traffic in Beijing is chaotic, many streets have bicycle lanes, and many of the major sights are within biking distance of each other. Most hotels rent bicycles for about 30-50 yuan a day.
The subway cost starts from 2 yuan. The subway operates from 5.30am to 11pm daily and entrances are marked by a logo of a square inside a "C" shape. All stops are marked in pinyin, and announced in English and Chinese. At present the capital has two metro routes. The Loop Line, consisting of 16 stations, parallels where the Ming era city wall once stood and the Second Ring Road runs today. The other track is Line One, composed of 21 stops stretching from Pingguoyuan at the foot of the Western Hills, through Tian'anmen Square to Sihuidong beyond the eastern Fourth Ring Road along the Beijing C Tongxian Expressway. There is two transfer stations intersecting the lines: Fuxingmen on the west and Jianguomen to the east.