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The Beijing Municipal Administration and Communications Card, more commonly known as the Yikatong or transportation smart card, is a store-value contactless smart card used in Beijing for public transportation and related uses.
It is similar to Hong Kong’s Octopus Card, Singapore’s CEPAS, and Oyster Card in London. Generally, your travel within Beijing downtown will be easier especially for backpackers, as long as you have a card in hand.
Beijing Yikatong is applicable for all Beijing subway lines, public city buses, and Beijing airport express train. Besides, you can also use it to pay for goods at some designated supermarkets, long distance bus lines as expressways in Beijing presently.
Moreover, the card can be used to pay for some of the public phones which set along Changan Avenue as well.
Over 170 designated points have been set in Beijing for users to rent and reload the card. These points are located at the ticket offices of all Beijing metro stations, some bus stations, supermarkets (Jingkelong Convenience Stores, Lianhua Quick, Good Neighbor Supermarket ) and Post Offices.
Steps to add credit to Yikatong:
1. Choose a credit-adding machine or a ticket vending machine that provides credit adding service;
2. Insert your Yikatong card into the Yikatong entrance;
3. Press “add credit” (充值);
4. Put flat notes into the notes entrance. Only 50 yuan or 100 yuan will be accepted;
5. Press ‘add credit’ to add credit to your Yikatong or “cancel” (取消) to retrieve your money;
6. After successfully adding credit to Yikatong, you may choose to print a receipt.
The card is tactile.
When taking a city bus, user should move the card close to the card reader at the bus door for payment. Usually, the card is used only once when getting on the bus (signed clearly on the bus). But on some separately charged bus (fare charged by distance), the card should be used twice: both getting on and off the bus.
When entering into metro station, user should move the card close to the reading machine and then again when exiting. No matter how long the journey is, only CNY2 is deducted per trip.
It is lent to users for free, but should be bought against a deposit of 20 RMB for the first-time user. The deposit and the balance in the card could be refund.
Currently, there are 62 spots distributing at metro stations. Bus companies and branches of China Citic Bank are set for users to return the cards.