Beijing to curb cars in city through number plates

December 23rd, 2010 - 5:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Dec 23 (IANS) In an effort to ease traffic congestion, Chinese authorities Thursday announced the number plates to be issued annually for new cars in the capital should not exceed 240,000 from next year.Car buyers will have to obtain number plates by a lottery draw before they drive their cars on road, according to Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport (BMCT), Xinhua reported.

The new policy will come into effect Jan 1, 2011, the BMCT said.

In 2010, more than 700,000 new cars were sold in Beijing, bringing the city’s total number of automobiles to more than 4.7 million, statistics from the BMCT showed.

According to DPA, other measures announced Thursday included a rush-hour ban on vehicles registered outside Beijing and city-centre parking restrictions.

The estimated number of vehicles licensed in Beijing has reached about five million.

Car exhaust fumes and other pollutants were a major concern for athletes in the run-up to the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.

Chinese authorities only allowed cars to drive every other day on Beijing’s roads during the Olympics and have since imposed permanent driving restrictions that they claim have reduced Beijing’s traffic by about 20 percent on weekdays.

Every car is now barred from the roads one day a week, a system that is enforced through licence plate numbers, but little relief is seen on the streets of the city of 17 million people.

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