South China city considering congestion fees against traffic jams

13:22, March 08, 2011      

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China's southern economic powerhouse Shenzhen is studying the possibility of collecting congestion fees and further raising parking fees to unsnarl its clogged roads.

Huang Min, director of the Shenzhen Traffic and Transport Commission, said the city is working on a package of measures to cub traffic jams, including further improving the management of vehicles and roads.

Shenzhen will speed up construction of the metro and track traffic and open more bus routes to encourage more local residents and tourists to use the city's public transportation facilities, China Daily on Tuesday quoted Huang as saying.

Wang Guowen, a researcher from the Shenzhen Comprehensive Development Institute, said the collection of congestion fees indicates the government is learning the experience of some other countries and regions to tackle traffic problems by introducing market principles.

Lu Huapu, a professor from Tsinghua University, said collecting congestion fees would certainly help ease traffic jams in Shenzhen, but it cannot tackle the problem at its roots.

Relevant departments should further improve the city's public transport systems and lower the charges for using public facilities before congestion fees are collected, Lu said.

According to a five-year plan of improving the city's public transport capacity, Shenzhen is expected to become the country's first city to build special high-occupancy vehicle lanes in the Chinese mainland, Huang said.

Shenzhen will build an additional 150 kilometers of special bus lanes this year, and another 100 km in 2012, Huang said.

By the end of 2013, Shenzhen will have special bus lanes reaching more than 400 km.

And Shenzhen will put 3,000 new buses into service in the following five years, Huang said.

Shenzhen now has the mainland's highest vehicle density. More than 1.7 million vehicles had been registered in the city by the end of last year, approaching the official limit. But there are actually more than 1.9 million vehicles, in addition to cars from outside the city, Shenzhen traffic department figures showed.

Source: Xinhua
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