Saturday, November 28, 2015

12 Ways Tianjin Transpo Has Changed During My 12+ Years Here

1. When I arrived in Tianjin in 2003, most of the taxis were red compacts and not the roomier turquoise Toyotas that we have now. 5 RMB and not 9 RMB ($1.40) was the starting fare.
2. We used to be able to hail a banana yellow van called a miandi. I think they lacked shocks, but I liked how you could throw your bike in the bumpy ride.
3. Today I usually use my iPhone to get a private driver and pay with a credit card. Now I don't ever have to be concerned about not getting a taxi and whether I have the RMB for the trip.
4. Back in the day, there were far fewer vehicles on the road, and almost every car was an expensive black German sedan. You see lots more color and car styles on the road nowadays.
5. Because Tianjin has so many cars on the road, it takes us longer to get to the train station than it does to take a train to Beijing.
6. I once took a three-hour train from Beijing to Tianjin for less than 10 RMB ($1.25 in 2003). Today a BJ to TJ bullet train ride takes less than 25 minutes.
7. Once in a while, we would see donkeys pulling carts of watermelon on the big roads. That is definitely a thing of the past.
8. Bikes used to be everywhere, and no one had electric bikes. E-bikes are now common on the road and bikes less so. A few bike riders might have expensive Giant mountain bikes.
9. We didn't ever see motor bikes, but now we occasionally see motorcycles. We have a Harley dealership just around the corner.
10. Prior to my motorbike purchase four years ago, we owned a sanlunche (three-wheel vehicle). Unfortunately, these electric tricycles are no longer permitted in Tianjin without special permission.
11. I once rode a bus that had a hole in the floor allowing me to see the road from a new angle. Today many city buses have comfortable bucket seats, TVs, and air conditioning.
12. Tianjin has several subway lines that are cheap, comfortable, and convenient. The subway lines didn't exist or were being renovated when I arrived twelve years ago.

To read more about Tianjin's crazy mega growth and change over the years, click here.

A bicycle repairman near my first apartment - April 2004