Tired of fumbling for change at the subway? The Chengdu Metro Co. introduces the monthly metro pass this month.
The passes allow up to 40 trips of unlimited distance per RMB80 and can be used for 30 days from the date of top-up for 40 rides or until the 30-day period is over, whichever comes first.
The cards can be purchased at the service centers inside the metro stations. The initial fee is RMB90, of which RMB10 is a deposit and RMB80 is one month's credit. Value can be added to the card at the service centers.
The new monthly pass (地铁计次月卡/dìtiě jìcì yuèkǎ) offers frequent metro riders an alternative to the Tianfu Pass (天府通卡/Tiānfǔ tōngkǎ), which offers a discount of 10 percent based on the normal distance fare. Although Tianfu Pass holders can charge their card with any value from RMB1 and up, all value stored on the pass is automatically drained on the last day of each month. A third option for very infrequent transit users is the "Electronic Wallet" (电子钱包/diànzǐ qiánbāo), which can be charged with any amount from RMB10. Its value does not expire. The latter two passes can also be used on buses and can be purchased at major transit terminals and value added at Hongqi Supermarkets.
The monthly pass is recommended for riders whose trips on average exceed RMB2 (five stations) per journey as well as daily commuters.
The cards will be valid through June 30, 2012. At that time the system will be readjusted to accommodate the opening of Metro Line 2, and a fully integrated monthly pass valid on bus lines and metro lines might be introduced. The Chengdu Metro Co. also "hopes" to implement a free transfer scheme with the city buses in the future.
Also, starting this year, limited-edition commemorative cards (pictured above, right) will be released for each of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac. This year's, the rabbit, will be sold for RMB98, which includes RMB50 of transit credit. No discounts are applicable to this card, and value cannot be added to it. Only 5,000 of these collector's editions will be made available. They can be purchased at the Hongqi and Dongfeng shops inside subway stations and will be valid until December 31, 2011.
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