China moves to cut traf­fic

NT News - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE -

FOR thou­sands of hope­ful com­muters in China’s cap­i­tal, 2011 started with a click, not a bang.

Res­i­dents want­ing to snap up Bei­jing car li­cence-plate num­bers un­der a quota sys­tem aimed at eas­ing paralysing traf­fic logged on to a web­site launched at the dawn of the New Year.

Within 10 min­utes, 6000 peo­ple had suc­cess­fully claimed a new plate num­ber, the Bei­jing Daily news­pa­per re­ported.

The new sys­tem aims to re­duce the num­ber of cars in the no­to­ri­ously grid­locked cap­i­tal.

The city will al­low only 240,000 new car reg­is­tra­tions in 2011 — two-thirds less than last year — and is parcel­ing them out via the monthly on­line lot­tery.

Bei­jing now has 4.7 mil­lion ve­hi­cles, com­pared with 2.6 mil­lion in 2005.

A global sur­vey con­ducted last year by IBM said the city is tied with Mex­ico City for the world’s worst com­mute. Wor­ries are grow­ing that Bei­jing is chok­ing it­self for fu­ture growth as short for ‘‘Bei­jing Haiyao Yongdu’’ — mean­ing ‘‘Bei­jing Will Still Be Grid­locked’’.

Mean­while, the boom­ing car sales that threaten to un­ravel China’s bur­geon­ing eco­nomic ta­pes­try are set to slow.

In­ter­na­tional strat­egy con­sul­tancy Roland Berger sees China’s an­nual car sales ex­ceed­ing 18 mil­lion units by 2015, then be­gin­ning to brake.

Mr Berger said 2010 sales would be 11.6 mil­lion ve­hi­cles— up 35 per cent on 2009— and al­though growth will con­tinue, it will be at a slower rate.

He said China would be strength­ened over the next five years by sus­tained eco­nomic growth and ris­ing house­hold dis­pos­able in­come.

Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties say con­cern that the econ­omy may over­heat, caus­ing a rise in in­fla­tion, has led to new mea­sures that in­clude re­stric­tions on car sales for 2011.

A re­port from Chi­nese news­pa­per Shang­hai Se­cu­ri­ties News said as many as 80 out of 420 fran­chised car deal­ers in Bei­jing would go out of

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