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Capital to expand public transportation

By Jin Haixing  (China Daily)

09:46, February 21, 2013

Beijing is planning to further develop its public transportation network, and 46 percent of residents are expected to travel by subway and bus this year, authorities said.

In 2012, more than 20 million daily journeys were made by public transport in the capital, and 44 percent of commuters used public transportation, according to the Beijing Commission of Transport.

The proportion was the highest in the country in 2012, and it is expected to reach 50 percent in 2015, Beijing Daily reported on Dec 5.

However, during bad weather and holidays, Beijing's traffic system often experiences delays.

The traffic congestion index within the Fifth Ring Road, Beijing's main urban area, will not rise above 5 in 2013, the commission said on Wednesday in a statement.

The index, introduced in 2007, indicates the general traffic situation with a number from 0 to 10, with 10 indicating the heaviest traffic.

On Dec 28, snow caused heavy traffic on city roads in the late afternoon, and by 6 pm the traffic index within the Fifth Ring Road reached 9.5.

To ease traffic congestion, Beijing will develop a rapid public transport network of more than 600 km including subway lines and a bus system, the commission said.

Tong Lihong, a manager at Beijing MTR Construction Administration Corp, said on Wednesday that at the end of 2013, extensions of lines 8 and 14 and a connection line between Line 8 and Changping Line will be opened.

Construction of the last two stations of Line 10 is scheduled to be completed in May, making it Beijing's second subway loop line and the longest in the city, Tong said.

According to Beijing Commission of Transport, the capital now has 442 km of subway lines, the longest in China. By the end of 2013, the length will reach 465 km.

To make public transportation more attractive, Beijing will continue to develop park-and-ride lots, with up to 10,000 spaces for vehicles.

According to the plan, the parking lots will be mainly located around subway stations in the rural-urban fringe zones, allowing passengers to transfer to cars they have parked near the new stations.

In 2013, the capital will also develop short community bus lines as well as high-end bus lines for private-vehicle owners and businesspeople, the commission said.

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