Friday, December 24, 2010

Beijing fights nightmare traffic

Traffic jams in Beijing are worsening with each passing day. The city now has 4.76 million vehicles, compared to 2.6 million in 2005 with nearly 2,000 new cars hitting the road each day.Now, China is going to sharply limit the number of new vehicles by registering only 2,40,000 vehicles next year, which would be decided by a licence plate lottery system.But these restrictions are expected to be unpopular with China's middle class.At the news conference, held to announce these measures, one car owner tried to question the move, but was prevented from doing so.
People on the streets of Beijing felt the government should not interfere in private car ownership. But experts say tackling car jams in the capital city is an urgent priority for the government.However, the clever public had already anticipated the new limits and went on a buying spree last week.Nearly 30,000 new vehicles were registered in the past week alone, at least three times the normal rate.One car salesmen said many of the most popular car brands had already sold out.During the 2008 Olympics, Beijing banned vehicles with odd or even-number plates to drive on alternate days.Now all cars are banned from the streets one day a week, based on their licence plate numbers. But some Chinese have sought to evade that rule by buying a second vehicle.