In China, growing discontent over car restrictions

August 15th, 2012 - 12:12 am ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Aug 14 (IANS) There is a growing discontent across China with speculation that more cities will follow Beijing and Guangzhou and limit the number of new cars.

Beijing started capping new car ownership at 20,000 a month through a lottery system as it moved to tackle the traffic gridlock.

But the number of applicants reached 1.7 million this month in Beijing, China Daily reported Tuesday.

In a poll conducted by Beijing transport commission last year, 75.7 percent said they did not think traffic jams were easing. Only 8.9 percent approved of the lottery policy.

But without the restrictions, new cars will make Beijing’s traffic conditions even worse, said Guo Jifu, director of Beijing Transportation Research Centre.

In the financial hub of Shanghai, the government uses an auction to control the number plate supply and the price has kept hitting new highs, according to the daily.

To the dismay of many, the booming Guangzhou city recently announced a similar policy, which allows only 10,000 new cars to be registered per month.

Deputy mayor Chen Rugui explained Guangzhou saw the number of vehicles grow at an annual average of 20 percent over the past five years, while roads only extended two percent.

“There may be no other choices for mega-cities like Guangzhou at the moment. But the public is discontent with the fact that there are too many government cars on the streets,” said Liu, a librarian.

Although auto sales in China are decelerating, analysts believe that the market will continue to expand, given the relatively low level of vehicle ownership among increasingly affluent families. People are now guessing which city will be the next one to adopt the restrictive policy, the daily said.

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