Beijing Vehicle Population Soaring; City Government Ramping Up Spending on Public Transit
24 January 2007
Xinhua. Beijing registered a record 22,079 new motor vehicles in the first 18 days of 2007. City planners expect the total number of cars, trucks and buses to pass three million by May and to top 3.3 million by the time the Beijing Olympic Games are held in 2008.
There are now 2.88 million motor vehicles in Beijing, including 2.06 million private vehicles. The number of people with driver’s licenses now exceeds 4.24 million.
“Private car owners in the capital use their cars four times more frequently than private car owners in Tokyo,” an expert said, blaming the high use of private cars for road congestion and serious air pollution in Beijing.
Beijing Mayor Wang Qishan is embarking on a major campaign to make public transit a primary mode of travel in the city:
The municipal government plans to spend 4.98 billion yuan ($641 million) to develop public transport this year, an increase of 1.31 billion yuan (US$169 million) from last year.
Separately, the city government will spend 11.67 billion yuan (US$1.5 billion) this year to improve the public transport infrastructure.
The city has also pledged to spend 100 billion yuan (US$12.9 billion) more in coming years on public transportation.
The city’s subway and light rail systems will be extended to 273 km in 2010 and to 568 km in 2015.
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