Twenty minutes after Su Yue posted a message seeking carpool
partners on 51pinche.com, a Beijing-based carpool service website,
she got five respondents.
Su, 28, a 1.6-liter emission Volkswagen Polo owner, had to leave
her even-numbered car at home on the first day of the capital's
four-day traffic and air test event.
Along with Su, most even-numbered vehicle-owners took bus and
metro to work on Friday following the government's call to get 1.3
million cars off the road in order to improve air quality one year
ahead of the Olympics.
By extending the rush hour from 2 to 3 hours and shortening the
gap between train arrivals, more people took the metro and the
passenger flow rose in an orderly manner.
Zhao Fang, a conductor at Xizhimen metro station on the city's
loop line, said there was a 20 percent passenger rise starting 6:30
am, half an hour earlier than usual.
It is estimated that 200,000 to 300,000 more metro journeys were
made, while there were 1.5 to 1.6 million more people took the
Another 770 backup buses were put into operation to support the
city's fleet of nearly 20,000 buses.
At 8:30 am, the monitoring screen in the city's traffic
administration bureau showed improved traffic conditions compared
with the same time on normal days.
"The speed used to be around 20 km per hour on the second and
third ring roads around 8 am, but today looks much better," bureau
official Shao Jie was quoted by Beijing Evening News as
Road accidents also fell, however, full details will not be
released until the four-day experiment ends, said the bureau.
Du Shaozhong, deputy director of the Beijing municipal
environmental protection bureau, said a team of experts is keeping
close watch on the data collected by all of its 32 monitoring
He didn't reveal the data but said the impact was "obvious",
adding that the capital achieved Grade II record on the first day
of the test. Grade I and II are suitable for holding international
Wang Hongsheng, head of the Polo Car Club, told China
Daily most of its 20,000 members supported the traffic
restrictions, but only if it is a temporary policy.
"Four days is acceptable and we all know it's for the Olympics'
sake it's capital residents' responsibility to abide by the
restriction," he said.
However, Liu Haitao, a veteran taxi driver, sees the trial as a
signal to cool down people's growing demand for cars.
(China Daily August 18, 2007)