Beijing's public transport system served a passenger volume of 4.6 billion person-times in 2007, while the bus system alone catered for four billion person-times, up 13 percent over the previous year, according to the Beijing Public Transport Group.
Ticket price reform and infrastructure improvement contributed to the record high passenger flow, the Beijing Daily has reported.
A unified bus fare of one yuan (13 U.S. cents) was adopted on 1 January 2007, and transit cardholders received a 60 to 80 percent discount, which attracted more people to use public transport, the newspaper said.
The price of subway tickets was also unified at two yuan, down from differentiating prices of five yuan, four yuan, and three yuan.
Beijing spent almost half of its transportation infrastructure budget on its bus system ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games to avoid becoming a giant parking lot during the event, according to a report released by the Ministry of Commerce.
"It has been proved that a market-oriented public transport system can not ease traffic. So the government plans to develop itas public welfare." said Li Jianguo, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Committee of Communications.
More than 80 percent of Beijing residents acknowledged a considerable reduction of transportation costs, and more than 60 percent considered it effective to curb traffic congestion, according to a telephone questionnaire conducted by Capital View Research Co., Ltd. in January 2007.
The hurried drive to build more underground arteries is aimed at easing traffic pressure and improving air quality ahead of 2008Olympic Games.
Beijing now has five subway lines with a total length of 142 kilometers. They include Line 2 covering the downtown area, Line 1and the Batong line connecting east and west parts of the town, Line 13 running through the northern part of the town and suburbs, and Line 5, connecting the south to the north.
Currently, five new subway routes are under construction including a 28-km line linking downtown area to Beijing Capital International Airport.
The combined length of subway lines is expected to reach 561 kilometers by 2015, the longest in the world, with a capacity of carrying nine million passengers a day, according to Beijing Morning Post.
Thirty-four bus routes will also be arranged to relieve the possible transportation pressure around venues and tourism spots during the Games, said Liu Xiaoming, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Transportation Commission.
The host city will have seven additional night bus routes besides the current 12 ones, Liu said.
"We will provide a round-the-clock public transport service during the Beijing Olympic Games," he said, adding that the goal will be achieved by rearranging 40 percent of 66,000 cabs operating in the city and the subway transport.