Capital to cut number of license plates
Beijing is to slash the number of license plates it hands out for new cars by one-third in an effort to ease traffic congestion and pollution.
The announcement came as it emerged that people are buying struggling small businesses that hold vehicle registrations to avoid having to enter the capital’s license plate lottery.
Companies and individuals must take part in a monthly draw to register a new vehicle, with a total of 150,000 plates up for grabs every year — 90,000 for gas-powered vehicles and 60,000 for new-energy vehicles.
However, from 2018, only 100,000 will be available per year, Zhou Zhengyu, director of the city’s transport commission, said on Tuesday.
The aim is to limit the number of cars on the capital’s roads to 6.3 million by 2020, Zhou said at the Global Sustainable Infrastructure and Connectivity Summit in Beijing. At the end of last year, the number stood at 5.62 million.
Zhou said the city has continued to see an increase in vehicles, despite government measures such as the monthly lottery, which was introduced in 2011.
“The way to solve traffic congestion will gradually shift from administrative regulations into economic means and technological processes,” he said.
Bill Law, senior vice-president of Volvo Construction Equipment, said: “It’s not just the government’s responsibility to deal with traffic congestion, but also that of research institutions, companies and citizens.
“We need to find a common solution for traffic problems. It not only happens in Beijing, but also in many cities in other parts of the world,” he said.
At the latest lottery, held on Tuesday, just one in every 754 entrants received a plate.
Facing the slim hope of getting a license, some people have bought companies that own car plates.
An intermediary for an agency that helps arrange such deals, who did not want to be identified, said someone could buy a company holding a license plate for 180,000 yuan ($27,700).
However, despite owning the right to use a car, owning a company will bring the driver much more complex problems, including possible debts, and labor and legal disputes.
Zhou Zhengyu, director of the Beijing Transport Commission