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Public Transportation in Xi’an

Mastering the public transportation system in Xi'an is a crucial aspect of adapting to life there. This article provides a detailed overview of the available local transit options.

Public transportation in Xi’an is diverse and well-developed, making it a viable option for both locals and expats. The city boasts a comprehensive network of buses, a rapidly expanding subway system, and a multitude of taxis and shared bikes. With such a wide array of options, it’s entirely possible for an expat living in Xi’an to comfortably live without a car, relying solely on public transportation and walking.


The Xi’an Metro, also known as the Xi’an Subway, is a rapid transit system serving the city. It’s a relatively new addition to the city’s public transportation network, with the first line opening in 2011. As of now, there are five lines in operation, covering a large part of the city and its suburbs. The subway is safe to use at all times of the day and night, with security personnel present at all stations. It’s also a popular choice for women traveling alone and for children going to school. A single journey costs between 2 and 7 yuan, depending on the distance traveled. The subway operates from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm, making it a convenient option for most commuters.


Buses in Xi’an are a popular and cost-effective way to get around the city. There are hundreds of bus routes covering the entire city, making it easy to reach any destination. The buses are generally safe, although they can get crowded during peak hours. The fare for a single journey is usually 1 or 2 yuan, making it a very affordable option. There are also several tourist bus routes that take passengers to popular tourist destinations such as the Terracotta Army and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda.


Taxis are plentiful in Xi’an and can be hailed from the street or booked through a mobile app. They are a convenient option for those who prefer a more private mode of transportation. The starting fare is 10 yuan for the first 3 kilometers, and then 2.3 yuan for each additional kilometer. Taxis are generally safe, although it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the meter to avoid being overcharged. Most taxi drivers don’t speak English, so it’s helpful to have your destination written in Chinese.

Shared Bikes

Shared bikes are a popular and eco-friendly way to get around Xi’an. There are several bike-sharing companies operating in the city, including Ofo and Mobike. The bikes can be found all over the city and can be rented using a mobile app. The cost is usually 1 yuan per half hour. The bikes are a great way to explore the city at your own pace, although it’s important to be aware of traffic rules and to always wear a helmet.


With its comprehensive public transportation network, Xi’an is a city that can be easily navigated without a car. Whether you prefer the speed and convenience of the subway, the affordability of buses, the privacy of taxis, or the freedom of shared bikes, there’s a mode of transportation to suit everyone’s needs. So, for an expat living in Xi’an, there’s no need to worry about getting around – the city’s public transportation has got you covered.

Expats talk about Public Transportation in Xi’an

“Taxis and buses abound as well as little Tuk-tuks like mini golf carts. 15 cents for the bus for ab. an 8 block ride,” commented an expat living in Xi’an.

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

Additional Information:

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