2001–2008: Planning For The Olympics
In the summer of 2001, the city won the bid to host the 2008 Summer Olympics and accelerated plans to expand the subway. From 2002 and 2008, the city planned to invest ¥63.8 billion (US$7.69 billion) in subway projects. Work on Line 5 had already begun on September 25, 2000. Land clearing for Lines 4 and 10 began in November 2003 and construction commenced by the end of the year. Most new subway construction projects were funded by loans from the Big Four state banks. Line 4 was funded by the Beijing MTR Corporation, a joint-venture with the Hong Kong MTR. To achieve plans for 19 lines and 561 km (349 mi) by 2015, the city planned to invest a total of ¥200 billion ($29.2 billion).
The next additions to the subway were surface commuter lines that linked to the north and east of the city. Line 13, a half loop that links the northern suburbs, first opened on the western half from Huilongguan to Xizhimen on September 28, 2002 and the entire line became operational on January 28, 2003. Batong Line, built as an extension to Line 1 to Tongzhou district, was opened as a separate line on December 27, 2003. Work on these two lines had begun respectively in December 1999 and 2000. Ridership hit 607 million in 2004.
Line 5 came into operation on October 7, 2007. It was the city's first north-south line, extending from the Songjiazhuang in the south to Tiantongyuan in the north. On the same day, subway fares were reduced from between ¥3 and ¥7 per trip, depending on the line and number of transfers, to a single flat fare of ¥2 with unlimited transfers. The lower fare policy caused the Beijing Subway to run a deficit of ¥600 million in 2007, which was expected to widen to ¥1 billion in 2008. The Beijing municipal government covered these deficits to encourage mass transit use, and reduce traffic congestion and air pollution. On a total of 655 million rides delivered in 2007, the government's subsidy averaged ¥0.92 per ride.Beitucheng Station for Lines 8 and 10, which along with the Airport Express, opened on July 19, 2008. Each of the four original stations on the Olympic Branch Line (Line 8) has a unique interior decor style. (Pictured: South Gate of Forest Park)
In the summer of 2008, in anticipation of the Summer Olympic Games, three new lines—Line 10, the Olympic Branch Line and the Airport Express—were opened on July 19 for trial operation. The use of paper tickets, hand checked by clerks for 38 years, was discontinued and replaced by electronic tickets that are scanned by automatic fare collection machines upon entry and exit of the subway. Stations are outfitted with touch screen vending machines that sell single-ride tickets and multiple-ride Yikatong fare cards. The subway set a daily ridership record of 4.92 million on August 22, 2008, the day of the Games' closing ceremony In 2008, total ridership rose by 75% to 1.2 billion.
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