Buses 101 For Tianjin Expats

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An introduction to Expats in Tianjin regarding taking the Bus.

Buses are still the most commonly used form of public transport in Tianjin, with hundreds of buses going to locations throughout the city everyday.  Furthermore there is a rare need to change buses, as lines seem to go in every direction from where you are.  Prices are cheap, varying from 2 RMB to 4 RMB for most routes, with an added 1 RMB for special air-conditioned buses, which are identifiable by the Chinese character 空 next to the bus number.  However many expats put off using the bus as it tends to be less foreigner-friendly.  Most bus stops only have information in Chinese, but if you ask around you will be able to master this cheap and convenient mode of transport and impress your local friends!

Public transport forces you to pay more attention to your surroundings, thereby enabling you to get to know the city better. Public transport is not as much of a hassle as many expats may think. There are buses and trains at multiple times during an hour, taking you to a vast range of places. Most major shopping malls and grocery stores provided regular buses to most residential areas.

For those who can read Chinese, you can search for bus routes on this Chinese website:  http://map.baidu.com/, where all you have to do is type a Chinese Address into the search engine, and click on the bus icon.

For those of you who can’t read Chinese, Google maps can be a useful tool. Plug in the pinyin (Romanized) name for your destination and it will supply you with bus routes.  Unfortunately sometimes it isn’t so up-to-date so best to try the route before relying on it for getting you to an important meeting on time. In addition, lately google has been blocked.

An app that is useful when taking buses is Panda Bus. This basically maps out the bus stops so you can know which stops to get off on and when to get on. So if you know from looking at a map where you want to go to, Panda Bus provides mapping information that’s helpful. When you pull down on the screen, the app refreshes based on your location and tells you all the bus routes nearby. Another app, che lai le is an app that is dedicated to getting you information on where the bus is located in comparison to your stop. This helps you to prepare and get to your stop on time or it lets you know that you can stay inside that warm mall for a little while until the bus comes.

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