A congestion charge will be introduced in the near future for vehicles entering a designated area in downtown Shenzhen, yesterday's Shenzhen Special Zone Daily quoted a vice mayor as saying.
"The municipal government is working on a detailed proposal concerning the congestion charge," the newspaper quoted Vice Mayor Zhang Siping as saying Tuesday, the third day of the nationwide car-free week.
However, he did not say when the charge would be introduced.
Zhang said government experts were studying global metropolises such as London and Singapore, which have introduced the charge to reduce traffic in busy commercial areas. Revenue from the charge is reinvested into the development of public transport infrastructure.
"The pricing of the charge, an area for the charging zone and payment of the charge are the focus of their studies at the moment," said Zhang, adding that the public would be involved in the formulation of the final regulation.
Zhang declined to say if the congested Huaqiangbei and Dongmen commercial areas were going to be a part of the charge zone in the proposal.
The number of Shenzhen-registered vehicles reached 1 million March 8 this year. With around 200,000 non-Shenzhen-registered vehicles on its roads, Shenzhen has 1.2 million vehicles on the road, making it the city with the second largest number of vehicles on the mainland.
The large number of cars is making the crowded roads even more congested, especially in busy downtown roads during rush hour.
"The city government is less likely to restrict the purchase of private cars through administrative measures to ease traffic pressure. It will use economic means to solve the problem," said Zhang.
Apart from the introduction of a congestion charge, Shenzhen will build a well-planned and comprehensive public transport network to discourage the use of private cars.
The city's first bus rapid transit (BRT) line is currently being constructed, and should be put into use next year, the Daily Sunshine said.
"The BRT is part of the public transport network which aims to provide fast, effective and convenient transportation to the public," he said.
(Shenzhen Daily September 20, 2007)