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Transportation in China

The transportation system of China is the lifeline of the national economy and comprises railway, highway, civil aviation and water transport – inland, coastal and ocean transport. Each means of transportation has its specific routes and vehicles for different ranges of use. High-speed trains greatly reduce the travel time. Urban transportation like metro/subway, city buses and taxi bring great convenience to passengers.

Interurban Transportation
  • Hard-sleepers, train in China
  • Hard-sleepers on a train, China travel

Soft-Sleeper (berths):
  • The corridor of Soft-sleepers, China tour
  • Soft-sleepers on a train, China
  • Neighboring soft-sleepers, China transportation

Dining Car
  • The dining car of a train, China travel

Water Closet
  • The water closet on a train, China

Hot Water
  • Hot water on the train, China travel
  • A Waiting Room of the Beijing Railway Station

 Tour Bus:
  • A  Public Bus in Beijing
  • The interior of a tour bus, Yunnan

 Transportation in a city

  • Entrance to a subway station, Shanghai
  • Platform of a subway, Shanghai
  • Inside a subway, Shanghai

  •  Taxies, Xian
  • Taxies in Shanghai

City bus:
  • A bus, Beijing

Comparison of Railway, Highway, and Civil Aviation
Railway, highway and civil aviation constitute the quick-transport system, mainly for passenger service. Railway transport is the primary form of national transportation in China, mainly for long-distance passenger travel and moving large quantities of goods. Highway transportation is used both between cities and within cities. Civil aviation is used mainly for traveling between domestic and foreign metropolitan areas. The following chart can help you can choose which method meets your requirements for travel in China.

  • Beijing Subway, China transportation
  • Guangzhou Airport, China travel
  • Beijing transportation

Railway transport is popular in China with its large capacity, low cost and it isn't easily affected by the weather, the only disadvantages are that its schedule and stops are fixed and it is inefficient. Trains are the only vehicles of it. Now high speed railways have connected many cities in China which make the journey much shorter. People sometimes would prefer to take high speed train than airplane for the airports are usually located far from downtown areas.

Highway transport is flexible and effective, but its cost is higher than the railway transport, besides its capacity is limited. While the vehicles on the highways are various like buses, cars, bicycles, motorbikes and so on.

Civil aviation is quick and comfortable, but it is easily affected by weather and the schedule and stops are fixed. What's more, it is expensive compared with railway and highways. Of course, all kinds of airplanes are the tools to carry you.

Water transport is enjoyable and worthwhile when visiting lakes and coastal cities as well as water towns such as Zhouzhuang in Suzhou and Zhujiajiao in Shanghai or rivers such as the Li River in Guilin, the Huangpu River near Shanghai or the Yangtze River.

With China's urbanization, in addition to those traditional vehicles such as buses, cars, taxies, and bicycles, some other new intra-city transportation modes are appearing such as subways, magnetic levitation vehicles and light rail vehicles.

Related tool: China Train Search