Monday was the first day for a new set of traffic restrictions in Beijing. The new rules take vehicles off the road for one day each week based on the last digit of their license plates.
Traffic management authorities say overall road conditions in Beijing have improved due to the new restrictions.
People get on a bus at a bus stop in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 13, 2008. [Xinhua]
During rush hour on Monday morning, the number of seriously congested roads was reduced significantly. The flow of traffic was improved, but some of the city's major arteries were busy as usual. Some people are still unaware of the new rules.
Kong Linghui from Beijing Traffic Control Center said, "Most of the drivers observed the rules during this morning's rush hour, but there are still some who violated the ban. We remind residents that cameras are in use inside the fifth ring road to enforce the ban."
Beijing authorities say they also plan to improve the public transportation system, hoping the ban on cars will convince people to ride buses and subways. Beijing will open a new subway line each year until 2015.
Beijing Subway spokesman Jia Peng said, "We will set the frequency of subway trains at one every 2 to 2-and-a-half minutes on Line one and Line two. We will also add more carriages to the Batong line trains. This will improve capacity by 15 to 20 percent."
Zhou Zhengyu, director of Beijing Committee of Communications, said, "We will continue operating the 10 bus routes designed for the Olympics. 10 morning bus routes will also start 2 hours earlier. And we will increase overnight buses from 12 to 15."
800,000 cars are expected to be taken off Beijing's roads each day, reducing pollution and congestion.
Polls from an auto web site show that many car owners disagree with the new regulations. But officials say there is widespread public support, after an auto ban during the Olympic improved traffic and reduced pollution significantly.
(CCTV October 14, 2008)