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Beijing to Cancel Half Century-old Monthly Bus Pass Next Year
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The monthly bus pass, which Beijing commuters have used for 56 years to ride around the city for pennies will no longer be available after January 1, said sources from the municipal communication committee.

A monthly bus pass costs only 45 yuan (US$5.8) for adults and 20 yuan (US$2.6) for students and can be used146 times per month.

Statistics show passengers on average used their bus passes 86 times a month costing them only 0.52 yuan (US$6 cents) a ride.

The move aims to improve the city's bus service and divert more passengers to the buses with air conditioners, which are less crowded but don't accept monthly passes.

To keep the cost of a bus trip down, the city is expected to offer a 60 percent discount for people using electronic bus cards which passengers swipe each time they board a bus deducting the cost of each trip, according to the committee. With the discount a bus ride will still cost only about US$5 cents a trip.

The effort will also help attract more passengers to travel by bus rather than private cars and taxies, hoping to ease traffic congestion in Beijing, said Qi Jia, director of Charges Management Department of the Municipal Development and Reform Commission.

A ride on Beijing's inner city subways costs 3 yuan (US$26 cents).

(Xinhua News Agency December 9, 2006)

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