South China metropolis may impose strict rules to ease congestion

21:23, January 24, 2011      

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The capital city of south China's Guangdong Province is considering collecting higher road-use fees from motorists in an effort to alleviate congestion.

Guangzhou's traffic committee is soliciting public opinions on a draft of measures involving congestion fees similar to those imposed in Singapore and London.

The traffic department is accepting public submissions up to March 5.

The proposals published on Sunday also include parking fees designed to redirect vehicles to quieter parts of the city and encourage more people to use the public transport system.

The city will begin construction of 11 new rail routes over the next five years and 3,000 buses will be added to downtown services, boosting the public transport proportion of the city's traffic volume to 70 percent from 59.6 percent last year.

Guangzhou also plans to further reform the use of official cars, which contribute to traffic jams on Guangzhou's roads.

Guangzhou has almost 2.15 million registered vehicles. The city's traffic department granted more than 300,000 license plates to new car owners last year.

The number of private cars in Guangzhou has grown at an annual average rate of 22.1 percent over the past five years. The figure is 20.9 percent in Beijing and 21.5 percent in Shanghai.

Guangzhou has more than 90 cars for every 1,000 residents.

Beijing, with 20 million people and 4.8 million vehicles, has imposed a tough congestion-tackling measure, in which issuance of new car license plates this year is reduced to 240,000, a third the number in 2010.

From Jan. 1, applications by car buyers in Beijing were subjected to a lottery-style selection method to choose who could buy a new car.

However, Guangdong would not copy Beijing's practice of limiting vehicle registrations, because allowing more residents to own private cars was part of the provincial government's campaign to build a "happy Guangdong Province," Guangdong Governor Huang Huahua has said.

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