What is a bus card in Chengdu?
A ‘bus card’ or ‘Tianfu Tong’ is a travel card which can be used on buses and the metro in Chengdu. A little known fact by foreigners is the taxis will also accept this as a form of payment. It works much the same as it would in other cities – just top it up and tap to travel
Whats on my card?
Your card will store 2 values – ‘money’ and ‘times’. The money is simple enough, you top up the amount of you choice and then the money will be deducted when you travel. Money will be deducted when you travel on the metro, in taxi’s and on ‘longer distance’ buses which tend to terminate a little outside of the city.
The times is a little complicated but is easy enough once you get your head round it. Times can be used on ‘city buses’ which tend to have shorter routes in more central locations each time will cost you 0.5RMB and it will cost 2 times for each ride (1RMB for the ride). On top of this once you have taped your card once then all other city buses will be free for the next 2 hours, meaning as long as you do all your transfers within 2 hours your trip will only cost 1RMB!
How much does it cost?
The card it’s self costs around 26RMB from Hongqi （Red Flag). Metro rides cost between 2 and 5 RMB and your card will give you 10% off. You will also get 10% off for longer distance buses, bringing the price down from 2RMB to 1.8RMB and for City busses it will cost 1RMB instead of 2RMB if you use times (but that saving increases if you use multiple busses within 2 hours
Where can I top up?
Both times and money can be topped up in Hongqi and sometimes other chain convenience stores such as wodongfeng. Money can also be topped up in the metro stations, make sure you have the exact amount you want to top up as the machines don’t give change and there may be a long queue to the ‘real person’ ticket office
Note: the ticket machines in the metro have an English language option