China Daily

Authoritie­s mull new measures to reduce congestion in capital

- By DU XIAOYING duxiaoying­1@ chinadaily. com. cn

Beijing may sell automobile license plates by auction instead of the current lottery system from April, as one of planned new measures to ease the city’s traffic congestion.

The authoritie­s will release new measures before April 10, the day the city’s current traffic restrictio­ns expire. Asked about whether the current car ban restrictio­n would be changed in April, Rong Jun, spokesman for the Beijing municipal commission of transport, said it is still under review by traffic department­s.

However, he said the capital’s transporta­tion department­s are evaluating some market-based reform programs to distribute the car plate quotas.

“The final plan has not been made yet. But there are many measures that can be used for reference, such as the car plate auctions in Shanghai,” he said.

“We have put forward different adjustment­s several times in the past, but the original measure has ended

Rong Jun, spokesman for the Beijing municipal commission of transport

up being kept every time as we consider residents have got used to it,” Rong said.

At present one-fifth of the city’ s vehicles are banned from the streets each weekday based on their license plate number.

Shi Jianhua, deputy secretary general of the China Associatio­n of Automobile Manufactur­ers, urged the government to improve the road infrastruc­ture, instead of imposing restrictio­ns.

“The government should think about how to create good rules for society, not limit it,” Shi said.

He said the government should not deprive people of their right to own and drive a car. He believes optimizing the capital’s road network is the key to solving its congestion problem.

But Cassie Z hang, a 32- year- old Beijing resident, said she would welcome a license plate auction with open arms, as she believes it would be more reliable than the current lottery.

“You will get a car as long as you have money to bet,” she said.

Zhang put her name on the lottery list last year asher

family needs a second car. Plans and measures

On Feb 5, the commission unveiled its goals of controll i ng t he t r aff i c congestion indices in the urban center to 5.7 and raising the percentage of environmen­tally conscious travelling to 71 percent.

Last year, the commission drew up its fi ve- year plan for 2016 to 2020, which includes operating 1,000 kilometers of rail transit and 1,000 km of bus routes, and making 75 percent of the city’s residents t ravel by public t ransport, bicycle or on foot.

As a cosmopolit­an city with more than 21 million people and 5 million vehicles, Beijing faces severe traffi c congestion. Policymake­rs have made several moves to ease the problem since last year.

At t he begi nning of t he year, the municipal government proposed a controvers­ial suggestion to ban half of the city’s vehicles from the roads on alternate days during the “winter heating season” from November to March.

This suggestion provoked a lot of public concern, and it was eventually dropped.

However, Rong said earlier this month that the department will use “economic leverage and necessary administra­tive means” to reduce vehicle use this year, and the authoritie­s are considerin­g raising the parking fees in the city’s central area and introducin­g flexible working times and other measures to ease the traffi c pressure.

The annual plan issued this month encouraged companies located in busy downtown areas of Beijing, such as the Central Business District, Financial Street and Zhongguanc­un, to apply flexible commuting times during rush hours for their employees.

It also continues promoting the developmen­t of newenergy vehicles.

This year, the comm ission will keep the annual car license plate quota to 150,000, the same as last year, but reduce the quota for gasolinepo­wered cars to 90,000. The electric car quota will be doubled to 60,000.

Currently 2.58 million Beijing residents have put their name on the waiting list for a car plate.

The commission’ s five-year plan also mentioned the idea of charging a congestion fee, which has sparked debate.

Zhou Zhengyu, head of the commission of transport, said a few months earlier the commission will evaluate the possibilit­y of collecting a congestion fee sometime this year, and discuss collection methods and which areas of the city should be charged.

There are many measures that can be used for reference, such as the car plate auctions in Shanghai.”

 ?? KUANG LINHUA / CHINA DAILY ?? Heavy traffi c during an evening rush hour in Beijing last September. The authoritie­s are working on new measures to ease the traffi c pressure in the capital.
KUANG LINHUA / CHINA DAILY Heavy traffi c during an evening rush hour in Beijing last September. The authoritie­s are working on new measures to ease the traffi c pressure in the capital.

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