Beijing to limit new car sales at 240,000 next year

16:41, December 23, 2010      

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Beijing officials attend a press conference in Beijing, capital of China, Dec. 23, 2010. The Beijing municipal government announced a traffic control package plan here Thursday in a bid to smooth the traffic on the city's choking arteries.(Xinhua/Li Wen)

China's capital city of Beijing is set to drastically cut the number of new car sales in 2011, and increase parking fees in central downtown areas, to curb rising traffic gridlock and make the city on a faster move.

The Beijing municipal government department in charge of transport announced at a press conference on Thursday that only 240,000 new vehicle plates will be allowed next year. The number is much smaller than this year's total sales estimated to reach 700,000 by the end of December.

An official from the department said that about 88 percent of the 240,000 new plates will be given to Beijing permanent residents, foreigners residing in Beijing, or people from other provinces and regions who have paid due taxes in the city for five consecutive years. The car plates will be given to individual applicants through lottery. Other plate numbers will be given to institutions and groups.

Unlike Shanghai, another metropolitan city in East China, the new plates will be issued "free of charge". In Shanghai, a plate would cost as much as 40,000 yuan.

To control traffic, Beijing will also strictly restrict vehicles with non-Beijing plates to enter within the Fifth Ring Road.

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