Category Archives: beijing

Subway shootout: will Shanghai or Beijing finish the year with a longer metro system?

Beijing and Shanghai are fierce rivals. Both cities have dramatically increased the length of their subway networks in recent years, especially around Beijing’s 2008 Olympics and Shanghai’s 2010 World Expo.

Shanghai has 425km of track (excluding the Maglev and Jinshan Railway), making it the longest subway network in the world, while Beijing currently has 372km. Traditionally, the main metro networks in Mainland China open new lines in the last few days of December. This year is no different, with both the Shanghai Metro and Beijing Subway scheduled to open new lines in late December 2012. The metro operators rarely release information about exactly which lines will open until a few days before the end of the year, which leaves an intriguing conundrum: what will be the longest metro system in the world at the dawn of 2013?

Over the next few days we’ll be providing a rundown of what new lines you can look forward to riding in 2013, but here’s a sneak peek:

Beijing should open a brand new Line 6, which runs parallel to the overcrowded Line 1. Line 8 will extend further south to meet Line 2, Line 9 will extend north to meet Line 1 and Line 4, while Line 10 will add 23 new stations to almost complete a large loop around the city (the final two stations of the loop will open later in 2013). In total, around 70km of new track will open, which would take Beijing to a track length of 442 km.

Shanghai has three lines or extensions which may open before the end of the year: Line 9 is due for a 3-station, 6.5km extension in the west, linking up Songjiang South Railway Station. The 8km-long phase 1 of Line 13 will head west from Jinshajiang Road on Line 3/4 to Huajiang Road. The first phase of Line 12 in Pudong is 13.1km long, and will intersect with Line 4 and Line 6.

If Shanghai can manage to open 18km of track it will keep its total track length ahead of Beijing, but if deadlines slip to 2013 they could allow Beijing to take back the crown!

As always, the metro operators remain tightlipped about exactly which stations and lines will open. Delays are not uncommon, and some individual stations may open later than the rest of the line. Stay tuned for updates!

photo by: JD Hancock

Zoom in with our latest Android metro map updates!

The most popular request on our feedback forum has consistently been to add zooming to our metro map apps for Android. Today, we’re making that happen with version 2.0 of our maps for Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Singapore, Seoul, Taipei and Hong Kong.

There are three easy ways to zoom:

  • Use the zoom buttons to zoom in or out
  • Double tap to quickly zoom in by one zoom level
  • Make a pinch gesture to zoom in or out

 

We’ll continue to make improvements to the map based on your feedback.

And we have a bonus feature for everyone running Android 3.0 or higher! When you tap on a station and choose a street map, you can now choose between a Google Map, and a offline street map, provided by OpenStreetMaps. So now, even if you’re offline, you can still quickly check the area around a station.

If you like the new features, we’d really appreciate your reviews in Google Play!

 

Explore Beijing and Guangzhou 7.0 for iPhone and iPad

Explore Beijing and Explore Guangzhou have also been updated to version 7, they are now available on the App Store! Version 7 includes step-by-step routeplanning. Check out some screenshots from the latest versions, then download Explore Beijing or Explore Guangzhou today!

Step-by-step routeplanning is coming soon for our other apps. Get in touch if you have feedback or suggestions on how to make the apps better!

Go ad-free with ExploreMetro VIP on Android

Since we launched our apps for Android on Google Play they’ve been available free, in order to reach as many people as possible! To help support the costs of development, we included an ad banner at the bottom of the screen.

Lots of people sent us feedback to let us know they wouldn’t mind paying a few dollars to remove the ads. So we’ve launched Explore Metro VIP for Android! It’s really simple to use:

1. Update any existing ExploreMetro map map apps you have already downloaded from Google Play to the latest version, that’s version 1.1

2. Visit http://exploremetro.com/vip or go to Help > Remove ads to download our VIP app.
3. Now you’re a VIP!

One purchase means you can enjoy all seven of our metro maps ad-free (Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Seoul, Taipei, Hong Kong, Singapore) for one low price!

How do I become a VIP?

Download the app from Google Play at exploremetro.com/vip

Once I’ve installed the VIP app, what do I do?

Bask in your awesomeness. You can then download and install any of our Android apps, and the ad banner will be gone! Please leave the VIP app installed so we know you’re a VIP!

I can’t download the VIP app from Google Play?

The VIP app is a paid app, and Google restricts which countries are allowed to download paid apps. For example, the United States and Singapore are OK, but China doesn’t currently allow paid apps.

I installed the app, but there are still ads?

Make sure you have version 1.1 installed of the metro map apps (Help>Version to check). If you uninstall the ExploreMetro VIP app, we won’t be able to detect that you are a VIP. You’ll need to download it again.

Coming soon: step-by-step routeplanning and sharing in our iPhone apps

We’ve been busy this summer preparing a new version of our awesome metro maps for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Version 7 will be available soon – but here’s a sneak preview, as well as information on how to get the new version first by joining our beta-testing program.

Route-planning is a really useful part of our apps: in fact over 15,000 routes are planned every day using our iPhone apps! In the current version, the fastest route is shown directly on the map like this:

In version 7, we’re adding written step-by-step directions, like this:

Every step of the way, you have clear instructions of which line to take, and which direction. What’s more, you can easily share the route instructions, by email, SMS/iMessage, Twitter or copying to clipboard:

We even automatically shorten the route directions to fit more easily into an SMS message.

If you’d like to try out the new routeplanning features, sign up to our beta-testing program.

And there’s more! Once iOS6 is launched later this year we’ll be adding more great features, including:

  • Point-to-point directions integrated into the built-in Maps app
  • Sharing via Sina Weibo

 

Our beta metro maps are now the default on modern browsers

We’ve switched over to make the new beta metro maps the default version when you visit one of our sites in a modern browser. If you’re using Internet Explorer 6, 7 or 8 you’ll be automatically redirected to the old Flash version. And don’t worry, our Flash maps are not going away – you can switch back to the old version at any time by choosing “don’t use beta”.

Thanks for everyone who submitted feedback for the beta versions, we plan to actively develop the new versions of the maps to make them even better! If you have any suggestions, get in touch via our support site.

A new page for every metro station – introducing a new look for Metropedia

For each of our online metro maps, we provide an accompanying “Metropedia” with a webpage for every metro station and metro line (for example People’s Square in Shanghai, Kowloon in Hong Kong). We’ve just designed all the Metropedia pages to match the style of our new beta metro maps. Highlights of the new pages include:

  • New stylish header with a snapshot photo of the location
  • Fast facts including the name of the station in multiple languages and audio pronounciation
  • Location map from Google Maps
  • Tips contributed by the users of our iPhone apps
  • Photos from the area around each station
  • Nearby places from Wikipedia and Skimbl
  • Works well on phones and tablets as well as desktop browsers

Check out the Metropedia homepages for for ShanghaiBeijingGuangzhouSingaporeHong Kong and Taipei, and do let us know if you have any suggestions on how to improve the Metropedia pages!

Sample page:

Sample page on iPhone:

 

Faster loading, faster route-planning on our beta metro maps

We’ve just launched some more incremental improvements to our beta metro maps for ShanghaiBeijingGuangzhouSingaporeHong Kong and Taipei

  • By popular demand, you can now drag between two stations to plan a route (this is how route-planning works in the classic version). You can also use the new method of clicking on the first station, choosing “Plan route” and clicking on the second station.
  • It’s also now quicker to plan a new route after planning your first route – no need to dismiss the route-planning bar
  • Finally, we’ve improved the caching of the map tiles, so the map should load much faster on repeat visits

 

We’ll continue to work on fixing bugs and making improvements in the beta version until they surpass the classic versions 🙂 If you spot any errors, or have any feedback on how to improve the beta versions, do let me know in the comments, or via our support page.

Updates for our beta metro maps

Since we launched the “beta” versions of our online metro maps a few weeks ago, we’ve received lots of great feedback from our loyal users. Some people love them, some people have found problems or issues and want to go back to the old versions.

Just to let you know, we are reading and responding to all the feedback, and continuing to make improvements to the beta version. Today we made several improvements to our beta maps for ShanghaiBeijingGuangzhouSingaporeHong Kong and Taipei, including:

  •  The default zoom level shows a larger area
  •  You can now zoom in/out smoothly, rather than only in steps of 2x
  •  When hovering over a station, you’ll see a “hand” cursor, making it clearer when you can click
  •  Fixed a bug where flags would disappear during route planning
  •  Faster loading of map tiles in China

To opt-in to the beta version, click the orange banner.

To opt-out and return to the classic version, click the ExploreMetro logo and choose “Don’t use beta”.

We’ll continue to work on fixing bugs and making improvements in the beta version until they surpass the classic versions 🙂 If you spot any errors, or have any feedback on how to improve the beta versions, do let me know in the comments, or via our support page.

Travelling from Beijing Capital Airport to downtown Beijing by subway

To help travelers to Asia’s biggest cities, we are running a series of articles on how to travel from major airports to downtown. Today, we’re focusing on Beijing.

Beijing’s main airport, Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) is situated 32 km northeast of central Beijing.

The simplest way to get to downtown is via the Airport Express line. There are stations at Terminal 2 and Terminal 3. The journey to the city takes 16 to 20 minutes, and a one way ticket costs 25 RMB. Trains run every 15 minutes. City-bound trains depart Terminal 3 from 6:21am to 10:51pm and Terminal 2 from 6:35am to 11:10pm.

There are two stations in the city: Sanyuanqiao (interchange with Line 10) and Dongzhimen (interchange with Line 2 and Line 13).

If you’re planning a trip to Beijing, we’ve got the resources you need for using the subway: visit our interactive subway map, print out a PDF map or download our iPhone/iPad app or Android app.

 

One Way Ticket
Creative Commons License photo credit: bryan@22°N 120°E.