Imagine if you lived in apartment building or worked in an office where you had to pay a fee every time you ride the elevator. In the Chaoyang district of Beijing, China, pay-to-ride elevators are a reality. Just like there is a fee to ride the subway in New York, two buildings in Beijing are charging people every time they ride their elevators.
The residents and office workers of the two building are unhappy with the new rules that are forcing them to pay every time they use the buildings’ elevators. The owners committee for the buildings has said the decision to start charging for elevator use was made to push out businesses, so they can make the buildings for residential use only.
Four out of the eight available elevators have already been installed with the pay system, and everyone needs special swipe cards in order to use them. Residential units are given four blue cards and are allowed to use the elevator 600 times every three months for free, but any more uses after that cost a fee. The office workers are given a yellow card that costs 50 Yuan ($8) as a deposit and 0.3 Yuan for every time they use the elevator.
While the pay per ride will not affect the residents as much as the office workers, both groups are unhappy with the new elevator restrictions. Office employees are upset, because they already pay a property management fee and now have to pay every time they ride the elevator. The apartment residents do not like the inconvenience of the swipe cards, because every time they have a guest they have to go downstairs and then bring them up with their blue card.
The committee’s defense is that the property management fees are not enough to cover the costs of maintenance. They charge a fee of five Yuan per square meter instead of per person, and many companies have hundreds of staff members to pay. To balance out the money, they are charging for elevator use, which they believe are often being used too much.