Beijing’s beleaguered commuters already have to deal overcrowded public transportation, massive traffic jams and air so dirty that biking to work is often not an option. This week brought a new woe: airport-style security at some subway stations, which created massive lines and long waits to get on trains in the first place.
Beijing’s subway network is the busiest in the world, and commuters take about 10 million rides a day between approximately 200 subway stations. Even a small malfunction, like a temporary signal failure, can lead to huge crowds on subway platforms.
“The usual subway security check no longer involves just ‘putting your bags through’ [an X-ray scanner] as commuters now have to be checked as though they are going through airport customs,” The Nanfang Insider reported. Nine stations have instituted the new checks, which according to Beijing police “should not take more than 30 minutes.” (link in Chinese)
The heightened security comes after attackers threw explosives into a crowded marketplace in Urumqi, western China, killing more than 30 people earlier this month. In response, China has announced a stepped-up fight against homegrown terrorism.