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UITP China tour: a journey through the public transport landscape

  • Asia-Pacific
  • Global

The biggest bus operator in the world

The past week has seen significant strides in strengthening the bonds between UITP and its members and partners in China. Kaan Yildizgoz, UITP Senior Director for Membership and Global Operations, alongside Shaun Tan, UITP Head of Asia Pacific Office, travelled through Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Shenzhen between 31 July and 8 August.

China has long showcased its commitment to modern transportation infrastructure. Their urban public transport systems are expansive, with Beijing Public Transport Company (BPTC) operating as the largest urban public bus operator worldwide, boasting a fleet of 23,000 buses. They don’t stop at buses either – BPTC also manages tram and taxi operations.

The scale of China’s metro networks is impressive, with approximately 10,000 km of metro lines running through 47 cities. These metro lines are a testament to China’s dedication and collaboration with industry players like CRRC Corporation Limited and the CRSC Corporation Limited.

On the rails: China’s high-speed connectivity

China’s commitment to advanced transportation is evident in its impressive high-speed rail (HSR) network. With an expansive network spanning over 42,000 kilometers by the end of 2022, it stands as the world’s longest. Notably, it accounts for a staggering two-thirds of the global high-speed railway systems.

The journey from Beijing to Shanghai allowed the UITP delegation to experience the marvel of the world’s longest high-speed line constructed in a single phase. This very line has successfully transported over 210 million passengers in 2019 alone. It’s worth noting that the train achieves astonishing speeds, with Kaan recording it reaching up to 344 km/h during his trip.

Strengthening global ties in Hong Kong and electrifying Shenzhen

Hong Kong plays a unique and vital role in UITP’s history. In 1993, the UITP Asia-Pacific Division was established as the first-ever regional division, aiming to expand UITP’s global footprint and drive public transport growth in the region.

Hong Kong took centre stage in this initiative, with the MTR Corporation Limited becoming a significant partner. The MTR Corporation, revered for its Railway + Property Model, Operational Excellence, and the Octopus card, continues to be an essential collaborator with UITP, hosting key events like the UITP Asia Pacific Annual Meeting.

The visit to Shenzhen was nothing short of enlightening. The city has positioned itself as a global leader in electric mobility. Since 2017, Shenzhen has become the world’s first city with an all-electric public transport system. Their commitment is evident in their fleet consisting of over 16,000 electric buses and 24,000 electric taxis. Companies like BYD, based in Shenzhen and a UITP member, have substantially contributed to electrifying mobility fleets not just in China but globally.

Their electric transition isn’t limited to their vehicles; Shenzhen also boasts over 500 bus charging stations and 5,100 bus charging points. This dedication to sustainability was recognised when Shenzhen Bus Group was awarded the UITP “Outstanding Achievement” award in 2019.

Public transport links the world

Shaun Tan echoed Yildizgoz’s sentiments, expressing gratitude for the enriching discussions with UITP members, including the Beijing Public Transport Group, Shanghai Municipal Transport Commission, Shenzhen Streamax Technology Co and more. Their focus remained on promoting public transport, new innovations, decarbonisation efforts and safety. Tan highlighted the importance of UITP’s growing membership and its continuous work in linking the world via public transport.

The UITP China Tour encapsulates the spirit of collaboration, innovation, and a shared vision for a sustainable future. With members and partners like those in China, the journey towards a greener, interconnected world is well on its way.

During their trip, the UITP delegation met with, among others:

Among many others, they met with:

  • President of Beijing Public Transport Company (BPTC)
  • Officials from Shanghai Municipal Transport Commission
  • Representatives from Shanghai Subway Operating Co
  • Adi Lau, Chair of the UITP Metro Committee, associated with MTR Corporation Limited
  • GU Nanzhou, CEO of Shenzhen Bus Group
  • CHEN Wei, Chairperson of Shenzhen Eastern Bus
  • Kading Liu, VP of BYD
  • Representatives from Shenzhen Metro Group
  • Officials from Shenzhen Bus Group
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