Xiamen - Ride (BRT)

by - 10:55

Xiamen BRT 厦门市快速公交

The Xiamen BRT system was opened in September 2008 with 3 lines. A BRT system is similar to that of MRT, except that buses are used instead of trains. As the population of Xiamen is only slightly above 5 million, a BRT system was built instead of a train system as there is simply not enough demand to sustain a heavy rail operation in the city. The first heavy rail system in Fujian province will only be completed earliest next year in Fuzhou, the provincial capital. Most of the buses travel along elevated guideways, although there are some parts which are at grade with the existing roads. The Xiamen King Long XMQ6127G is the only bus model to be used currently in the system.

One of the notable sculptures at the terminal station, Diyimatou 第一码头.
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BRT map showing the different lines which are currently in operation and planned (dotted). Most of the planned stations are at grade and currently under construction. This map also clearly shows the different districts of Xiamen.
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Overview of HuoCheZhan 火车站 BRT station, showing how a typical elevated BRT station looks like. This station is conveniently located next to Xiamen Railway Station.
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Night Scene. The HuoCheZhan 火车站 BRT is situated next to Xiamen Railway Station and the adjacent bus terminal. One of the 2 mega shopping malls in Xiamen, World Trade Centre can be seen in the background.
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A signboard lists the operation hours of the lines at the entrance to the station at ground level.
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Tickets (in the form of round tokens) are sold either at the counter or from machines. The fares are very cheap, and it only costs RMB0.50 (S$0.11) up to about 5km. In addition, one could also pay using their version of ez-link, known as an e-card. Further discounts can be enjoyed using the contactless card.

A signboard showing the height limit before full fare is payable.
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An automated ticketing machine. I was seriously impressed by it, as it accepted a very crumpled and old RMB5 note without any complains. In contrast, our general ticketing machines only accept very good condition notes that is perfectly aligned into the slot!
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Touch screen Display. One can choose to buy either by touching the fare or manually selecting the destination.
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One can either use escalators or staircases to get up to the platform level. However, this is not sheltered which should prove troublesome when it rains. In addition, being such a new system the developer could had intergrated barrier free access into the stations, but it would mean increasing the fares and jeopardising the effectiveness of the system.
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Platform view. The space saving design means that one cannot cross platforms easily since the roadway is in the middle.
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Clear signages are present on the platform to indicate the station name. Wenzao 文灶BRT was the nearest to my hotel thus I had used this station frequently during my short stay in the city.
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Overhead LED screens display the estimated arrival timing of the buses. In addition, it also shows the station name, current date and time, weather forecast and safety messages. The buses are deployed at 1-2mins interval during peak periods and up to 8mins frequency during off peak.
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At the terminal station, Diyimatou, LED screens show the estimated departure time for the next 2 trips, along with the bus registration numbers. All services use a common platform for boarding.
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A typical BRT King Long XMQ6127G working on route 2. Enthusiastic station staff are present at each platform to ensure that passengers board the bus in an orderly manner and to ensure that passengers do not stand beyond the yellow line, despite the presence of half height barriers.
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DY7552 on BRT1 speeds out of HuoCheZhan station towards Diyimatou. This photo was taken from the open air section of the food court located on the top floor of World Trade Centre megamall.
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Morning crush as DY7876 struggles to pack in more passengers. Despite 1-2mins headways which often cause bunching up at the busier stations, the system is straining to cope wih the peak hour load. As such, there are already plans to bring in 18m long articulated buses in the near future.
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The King Long XMQ6127G is low floor all the way until behind the real axle. However, it has no wheelchair ramp.
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However, this means that the step for the seats right after the exit are extremely high, and no seat could be mounted on the rear axle as a result, causing this awkward gap.
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Most of Xiamen's public buses (both aircon and nonaircon) are fitted with their equivalent of TV mobile. In addition, there is a LED display which displays the next stop, along with a voice announcement system.
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A simple LED board tracks the progress of the bus through the routes. As a result of this, the buses are fixed on their respective routes.
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The ride on the XMQ6127G was very smooth with air suspension and quite silent too. Vibration was tolerable and the airconditioning was cool enough even with summer heats reaching above 35 degrees. Acceleration was fast with the 6 speed ZF auto gearbox.

A video of a ride on the BRT for one stop.


Dashboard of the Xiamen BRT King Long. A single unit controls both the electronic destination sign and the announcements.
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Exiting Diyimatou station to the fare gates. Diyimatou is special as it has platforms on 2 levels, with the middle level catering for future expansion. Currently, it serves as a bus park.
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Exit ticket barriers. There is a slot which makes sure that the single trip token is returned before the turnstile is unlocked to let passengers through. The overstaying limit is 180mins regardless of the fare, which is quite generous (end to end on the longest route is only 90mins)
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Entrance/Exit of Diyimatou station.
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Xiamen BRT also operates a number of feeder services from each BRT station that brings passengers in the surrounding residential/industrial estates to the station. It has a flat fare of RMB0.50 (S$0.11).
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Some of the BRT Shuttle Bus Stop Poles have schematic maps on the reverse side as well.
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DY7695 picking up passengers in front of Diyimatou station. L1 links Diyimatou with the other jetties and ferry terminals further south along the coast, including the one that has ferry services to Gulangyu 鼓浪屿.
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