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New AFC system to manage subway tickets in Beijing starting June 9

Updated:2008-06-06
New AFC system to manage subway tickets in Beijing starting June 9
New single-journey ticket (front) and existing “one-card pass,” for use on Beijing's subway system. (Photo credit: Lu Xin/Xinhua)

(BEIJING, June 6) -- On June 9, the city's Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) system will officially be established throughout the city's subway system. According to Xinhua, the new ticket checking structure, six years in the works, will implement several changes to the existing methods of ticket verification, as explained by the list of regulations that were published on Thursday.

Before the AFC, commuters were allowed to swipe the same card to pay for the transportation of several people at the same time. With the new system, this will not work. Another change is that travelers using the single-journey cards must present the magnetic card when exiting the station at their destination; if they lose their card during the ride, a 3 yuan replacement fee will must be paid before the commuter can leave the subway station.

According to reports, subway lines 1, 2, 5, 13, and the Batong line will have AFC in place as soon as the first train begins to run on Monday. In July, when line 10, the Olympic Lateral and the Airport Track begin operations, paper subway tickets in Beijing will cease to exist.

New AFC system to manage subway tickets in Beijing starting June 9
Reusable single-journey ticket for Beijing's subway. (Photo credit: Lu Xin/Xinhua)

When the AFC system goes into effect, only two kinds of tickets will be accepted for transportation on the capital's subway lines: the newly created singe-use magnetic cards and the official "one-card pass" that is already in use.

According to a representative of the subway management company, about 2.8 million guests use the subway every day, 1.4 of whom use the "one-card pass" to commute.

The AFC system allows commuters to purchase single-journey tickets at automatic ticket vending machines, which only take 1 yuan coins or crisp 5 and 10 yuan bills. Those with larger currency must purchase tickets from actual ticket counters.

Those using the "one-pass card" must swipe their cards again when exiting the subway station. Customers using the single-journey card must deposit their cards at the ticketing checking machines at the exit; only after the cards are accepted by the machine can the traveler leave the station.

 The new single-use cards are environmentally-friendly, as each card may be used to serve 2,500-3,000 trips, if they are not damaged. Upon exiting any subway station, if a commuter loses or damages the card, he or she must pay another 3 yuan, the price of a single trip on a subway line, to purchase another card at a service counter. Only after this card is accepted by the ticket checking machine will the traveler be allowed to leave the station.

Those wishing to travel to the airport on the new Airport Track must pay for an additional ticket for the ride. This includes either purchasing a specific Airport Track line ticket, or swiping the "one-card pass" again to subtract the fare from the card's worth. At present, the fare for a trip on the Airport Track is still being deliberated upon, but will be publicly confirmed soon.

The subway management company has already created public announcements via television commercials to explain how to use the AFC system.

Automatic Fare Collection

Frequently Asked Questions:

1) How do I use an automatic ticket vending machine to purchase a single-journey ticket?

Automatic ticket vending machines only accept 1 yuan coins or crisp 5 yuan or 10 yuan bills. You must complete your transaction within 60 seconds of depositing money; otherwise, the transaction will be canceled and the deposited money will automatically be refunded.

2) How do I recharge my "one-card pass"?

"One-card passes" can be recharged at service stations within the subway station or by using AFC machines, which only accept crisp 50 or 100 yuan bills. A maximum of 500 yuan may be credited into the card at one time; the card's total balance may not exceed 1,000 yuan.

3) May I obtain an official receipt from purchasing a single-journey ticket?

If a single-journey ticket is purchased at a service counter, an official receipt may be immediately provided. If a single-journey ticket is purchased at an automatic ticket vending machine, customers must take the proof of purchase to a service counter on the same day that the ticket was purchased in order to have an official receipt issued.

4) May more than one person use the same "one-card pass" at the same time?

Starting today, the "one-card pass" may only be used to account for one journey at a time. This means that only one person may use the card to enter and exit the subway. When a customer uses his or her "one-card pass" to get into the subway, he or she must swipe that same card to exit the subway, thereby completing the card-registered journey. If the customer does not swipe the card upon exiting, before using the card again for another trip, the customer must visit a service counter to adjust the card so that it is valid for the next journey.

5) Do children shorter than 1.2 meters tall have to pay the subway fare?

Children less than 1.2 meters tall accompanied by a paying adult do not have to purchase a ticket to ride on the subway. After swiping the card, when entering through the turnstile, children should walk directly in front of the adult.

6) Is the Airport Track connected with the same system as the rest of the subway lines in Beijing?

There is a difference in ticket prices between a ride on the Airport Track and the subway lines within Beijing's city limits. Passengers transferring from another subway line to the Airport Track must pay a separate fare for a journey on the Airport Track. Those customers using the "one-card pass" must swipe their cards again so that the fare for a ride on the Airport Track is deducted from the credit on the card.

7) How do wheelchair users, or those with oversized suitcases, pass through the turnstile?

At present, the turnstiles in the subway stations can only accommodate individuals. Passengers in wheelchairs or those with items too large to pass through the turnstile may use the designated wide paths at the entrance/exit of each station to gain access to the subway.

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