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Center for private cars, drivers opened
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Private vehicle owners in Beijing would benefit from better services and management, since the city established the nation's first administration center for private automobiles in the capital over the weekend.

The center, directly under the municipal traffic management bureau, would provide automobile owners with education about traffic-related government policies and concerns to help them improve their driving skills and handling of automobile-related issues, the bureau said.

"It will help develop a mechanism to better manage and serve the soaring number of private automobile owners in the capital," director of the municipal traffic management bureau Song Jianguo said.

Official figures show the number of private vehicles on Beijing's streets is now 2.46 million, accounting for 76 percent of the city's total. The number is growing by an average of 1,350 per day, while the number of new drivers grows by 1,240 daily.

Song said the rapid increase of private automobiles and drivers had caused more traffic jams and accidents, but there currently are no effective measures in place to manage the situation.

"The creation of such a center will also help create a good traffic environment during the upcoming Olympic Games," Song said.

Traffic management sub-bureaus among the city's districts and counties, in addition to 12 private car clubs, would also open branches of the center.

"Such a center provides a communication platform between the government and private vehicle owners," Chen Dongsheng, director of one of the car clubs, said.

"It's also a good way to combine the resources and advantages of the government departments and our private clubs."

Zhou Manjun, who has driven in Beijing for more than a decade, said increasing traffic congestion has made such a center necessary.

"I hope the center's services and training would improve drivers' awareness of traffic rules and safety," he said.

He added that he hoped the center would provide explicit details of its management and services through media, such as posters, press and the Internet.

(China Daily April 14, 2008)

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