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Beijing Not Worried by Increasing Number of Cars
Beijing is facing the pressure fan escalating number of private cars but the city is confident that transportation will not be a problem at the 2008 Olympic Games, an official of the municipal government said Thursday.

Shan Jixiang, director of the Beijing Municipal Planning Commission, told reporters that railway traffic will serve as the main force in the city's future transportation.

Beijing, which now owns over 1.7 million automobiles, is likely to see more cars as cars are to be bought at lower prices after China's admission of the World Trade Organization.

With the GDP per capita over 3,000 US dollars last year, Beijingers are buying several hundred new cars a day. It is expected that automobiles in Beijing are going to increase by over100,000 annually.

As part of solutions to ease the pressure, Shan revealed that subway and light rails will be the essential means of transportation during the 2008 Summer Olympics.

The upcoming construction includes Beijing Urban Light Rail, Bawangfen-Tongzhou Subway Line, Subway Line No.5, Subway Line No.4,Olympic Subway Line and an express railway linking the Beijing Capital International Airport with the city's downtown section.

By 2008, subway lines will be extended by 148.5 kilometers to atonal length of 202kms. The future subway is expected to carry 10percent of the daily traffic, according to Shan.

Shan added that many of the old roads are to be improved and new expressways have been planned.

The increase of cars is inevitable, but the local official believes it is the transport management that most counts. "In 2008, we can assure that every athlete travel from the Olympic Village to the competition venue within half an hour.

"And spectators can also reach venues conveniently through railway transportation or other ways," Shan added.

(People's Daily March 29, 2002)

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