Public transportation will have priority in traffic to ease
congestion during the Summer Olympics, an officer said at a news
conference on April 18.
Passengers board a bus
during rush hour, at a bus stop, in Beijing April 18, 2007. Beijing
is hoping a 100 billion yuan (US$13 billion) investment in public
transport will be enough to keep the traffic flowing at next year's
Olympic Games, an official said on April 18.
"This year, Beijing is projected to open 43 new roads, adjust
current bus routes, and keep bus fares low to facilitate the
movement of people during rush hour", explained Liu Xiaoming of the
city's transportation committee.
He continued to say so far 10,350,000 traffic cards have been
issued, and 13 million people use public transportation everyday.
This is an increase of 10 percent since 2004 when reforms in public
transit were made.
"We are also considering Olympic-exclusive bus lanes, strict
parking restrictions around Olympic venues and government vehicles
taken off the roads," added Liu.
"We plan to reduce traffic congestion by 20 to 30 percent during
the Games, which means keeping 1 million cars off the road to
ensure a good traffic flow."
But he said that the committee has yet to create a plan to
restrict car use or impose congestion charges similar to measures
used in central London, despite more than 1,000 new vehicles
hitting the roads of Beijing everyday.
And people who are working for the Games, including volunteers,
ticket holders, and staff can take public transportation for
Liu said Beijing has already spent 100 billion yuan (US$13
billion) on the city's transportation system since 2003. And from
this year onwards, money pouring into transit will increase an
estimated 10 percent annually in next two years, in hopes of
relieving traffic jams especially for next year's Olympic
The committee also explained more transportation hubs, exchanges
centers and stations will be built, and extra bus lanes in Beijing
will increase up to 250 kilometers.
(China Daily April 20, 2007)