By now it’s clear that the Beijing municipal government has completely ignored my ideas to reform the city’s subway system without raising ticket prices. At first, I was incensed. I rode Line 10 in a circle all day, getting out at my original station for two kuai, just to spite the system. It was on one of these circuitous rides that I thought of a compromise. With all the extra income from the price hike, the least the government could do is invest the money toward a subway expansion aimed at us expatriates.

The Expat Line
Sanlitun – Let’s face it: Tuanjiehu station is useless. There is nothing at Tuanjiehu. No one wants to go to Tuanjiehu. Anyone caught dead there is either on their way to Sanlitun or Chaoyang Park. But if it were a transfer station for the Expat Line, I suspect people would actually use it. If there’s any place in Beijing that needs a subway station, it’s Sanlitun. I don’t care how impossible it would be to build. Think of the possibilities: one exit opens into Taikoo Li, the other into Sanlitun SOHO. It would be a dream come true.

Sanlitun South – The area around 1949 is so bougie I feel like it deserves its own station. Exit A: Home Plate/Taco Bar; Exit B: Jing A/Duck de Chine; Exit C: Janes and Hooch/ The Local; Exit D: Q Mex/Kro’s Nest. For those who think this location is too close to warrant a separate station, take a ride from Fuxingmen to Nanlishilu.

Sanlitun North – If Tiantongyuan can have three stops, why not Sanlitun? It would save us the hike through Taikoo Li to Luga’s, Taps, and La Pizza at the north end of bar street. Plus, it’s the only way anyone will ever go to Taikoo Li North.

George’s House – Okay fine, this station is less for expats and more for me. Please note that this isn’t a complete list of stops. There are plenty of places – Gongti East, Gongti West – that deserve their own. Once officials see the revenues from this new line, I am sure they will approve further expansions.

The Wudaokou-Sanlitun Maglev Express
I forgot to mention earlier that Sanlitun would be an interchange station for the Wudaokou-Sanlitun Maglev Express. Using state-of-the-art technology, the shuttles could reach upwards of 500km/hr, getting you from Haidian to Chaoyang in little over two minutes. I believe this engineering feat would be on par with the other great works in China: the Three Gorges Dam and the South-North Water Transfer Project. No longer will the two expat hubs be separated by a long and buzz-killing commute. No longer will your friends have an excuse not to come meet you at Wu Club at three in the morning.

The Hutong Monorail System
I’m sure the government is already aware of this but currently it is so inconvenient to hang out within the Second Ring Road, at least for those of us who aren’t cool enough to live nearby. Thus, I propose a monorail system to connect the constellation of hole-in-the-wall places. Stations include: 4corners, Temple/Dada, Modernista, Zajia, Mai Bar, Cu Ju, Mao Mao Chong and 8-Bit. This loop would offer revelers a way to cruise between hangouts and enjoy an elevated view of Beijing’s nightscape while intermittently puking on the residents below.

Needless to say, I expect these lines to run 24/7 and all the trains to be equipped with air conditioning. If the operating cost is too high, just keep raising ticket prices.

So that’s my plan. Once again, I’ve done all the hard work of drafting the proposal. All the bureaucrats have to do is implement it. I hope this time they will be more progressive.

Read more musings from Peking Man here.
 

Photo courtesy li yong


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