Private Cars to be Parked at Home, Avoiding Holiday Traffic Jams

Car owners in Beijing city have been advised to leave their vehicles at home during the coming week-long Spring Festival holiday next month, in a bid to avoid traffic jams.

From January 14 to 18, 3,400 automobiles were registered in Beijing, of which 2,200 are privately owned cars, marking an 80 percent increase compared with the same period last year. At present, there are over 500,000 privately owned cars in Beijing.

The upsurge in car ownership is expected to worsen the already cumbersome local traffic conditions.

However, more Beijingers and tourists are likely to want to be involved in outdoor activities to enjoy the rare warm winter weather here, putting more pressure on local transport.

The local public transport system is expected to carry 76 million people during the holiday season, up 7.5 percent compared with the same period last year.

Experts advise car owners to change their tour plans so as to avoid heavy traffic jams, or to use public transport instead, Thursday's Jinghua Times said.

Sources said that routes around key tourist attractions such asthe Great Wall and the Temple of Heaven will be very busy during the peak season.

An official with the local transport administration said that traffic infractions such as speeding, overloading and drunken driving will be severely dealt with, to make the holiday road transport run more smoothly.

( People's Daily January 25, 2002)