Public transport week for China
- China set to enjoy a day without cars
www.chinaview.cn 2006-12-04 09:59:54
BEIJING, Dec. 4 -- Shanghai will join more than 70 cities across China
next year to promote a no-car day and encourage commuters to use cleaner
forms of transport.
China has set aside the week of Sept. 16-22, 2007 as its first public
transport week. And on the final day, private car owners will be asked to
leave their vehicles at home and ride bikes, use mass transit or walk to
work, school and shopping, Qiu Baoxing, deputy minister of construction,
told a national meeting in Beijing on Saturday.
If all private cars stayed off the streets for 24 hours, China would
save 33 million liters of gasoline, reduce urban pollution by 90 percent and
prevent an untold number of deaths and injuries from traffic accidents,
In addition to Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Chongqing and Hangzhou have
also promised to join in.
Authorities said compliance by motorists will be voluntary but that some
streets in all the cities taking part will be blocked to private cars.
France initiated the no-car day in 1998, and two years later, the
European Union's environmental agency kicked off European Mobility Week on
Sept. 16-22, which also featured a car-free day. The environmental exercise
has since expanded to more than 1,000 cities across Europe.
Qiu said China's program is designed to raise public awareness about the
need for greater environmental protection by encouraging urbanites to use
less polluting forms of transport.
Rush-hour traffic jams often turn major roads in big cities into parking
lots, Qiu told the meeting.
In downtown Beijing, 60 percent of the 183 major intersections suffer
serious jam-ups, Qiu said.
China's capital has 2.82 million cars on its streets, and the number of
new ones is increasing by 1,000 a day, cutting vehicle speeds to about half
of what they were 10 years ago. Across China, a city bus commuter takes 10
minutes longer than it did a decade ago, and that's why 70 percent of urban
residents are dissatisfied with bus services, according to Qiu.
Traffic jams cost the country about 250 billion yuan (31.65 billion U.S.
dollars) in lost productivity in 2003, or two percent of that year's gross
domestic product, the official said.
Qiu urged city governments to improve public transport efficiency, give
priority to buses, shorten transfer time between buses and invest more funds
into the public transport system.
Fewer than 10 percent of city residents use public transport across the
country on average, he said.
In large cities the figure is about 20 percent, compared with 40 to 60
percent in major metropolitan areas in Europe, Japan and South America.
(Source: Shanghai Daily)
- Ah yes, now China wakes up, after encouraging people to buy private
cars and building roadways to accommodate them.
When I was in China in 1990, there would have been no need for a
car-free day, because most people in most cities rode bicycles or took
However, recent Chinese films that I have seen portray cities choked
with automobile traffic. They should have quit while they were ahead.