I spoke previously on the process of hailing a cab here in Xi’an. Well, I now realize that that gave quite a frightening and negative spin on transportation in Xi’an. Yes, the roads are packed with cars that will do anything to get over in to the next lane right now. Yes, often times signs and stop lights are seen as optional, and cars will shoot out, across, and through intersections. However, although many people do own cars, and nice ones at that (see: earlier post), most people use the public transportation system here in Xi’an. And, being at a university, I can tell you that public transportation is all that students use. Needless to say, the public transportation in this city is quite fantastic.
Public transportation in Xi’an primarily consists of two options: buses or the subway. The subway is the simplest and most straightforward method. Comprised of a north-south route and an east-west route running directly through the center of the city, along with plans to build at least two more lines, the subway system is incredibly convenient. Payment is also simple, as everyone simply purchases transportation cards that can be preloaded with money and swiped before you get on the train. Also, I know I mentioned it earlier, but the signage here is really helpful, so it is difficult to get lost. The other option are the buses, which seem to be omnipresent on the streets, frankly because you can pretty much take a bus to any location in Xi’an. The only caveat here is that all information and signage for the buses is in Chinese, so if you don’t have at least a rudimentary knowledge of the language, or a really good bus route guide, riding the buses may be difficult. However, in my case, muddling through does me fine, and I’ve only gotten on the wrong bus like, twice. No big deal. Anyway, getting on the buses is quite easy and convenient, especially since you can use the same transportation card as the subway. And, as I believe can be seen in an earlier in my blog, the buses have are quite adept at navigating the crazy street of the city. For most of my traveling, I have used the subway, mostly because I am visiting temples and historical sites, which are congregated around the center of Xi’an. Nevertheless, I find that the longer I am here, the more I use the buses, and how much more I appreciate their convenience. It will honestly be difficult to return to a city without much public transportation.
To be succinct, the public transportation here in Xi’an is surprisingly well laid out and very convenient to use. This has been integral to my travel experience, as I have been able to simply pick a location to visit, and be confident that I can get there by bus or subway. Well, I’ve got more travels to complete tomorrow, and Xi’an’s the place for it!