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Car lottery chances at all-time low
Global Times | March 27, 2012 01:20
By Global Times
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Getting a chance to purchase a car in the capital has become even more difficult after the odds for winning the car lottery reached a new low Monday, which has led to mounting complaints from eager car buyers.

Around 970,000 residents participated in a new round of the car plate lottery Monday, competing for 20,282 cars this month. Despite the number of fortunate applicants reaching a new high, the odds of winning such an opportunity were the lowest ever at 1 to 47.9.

The measure was introduced in January 2011 by the Beijing municipal government aiming to ease traffic congestion and environmental pressures. While the positive effects are not very visible, complaints from applicants are mounting.

Yang Yang, a Beijing resident who did not win Monday, said he really hates the lottery.

"I've spent one whole year participating in this dull game.  There is still no car. The chance of buying a car in Beijing can be compared with wining a lottery prize," he told the Global Times.

Kang Wei, another potential car buyer in Beijing, echoed Yang. Kang said despite the new policy, the congestion continues here and the air is as heavily polluted as before.

The number of cars in Beijing will have exceeded 5 million by January, which has been delayed for 11 months thanks to the restriction, according to the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau.

A total of 173,000 new cars were registered in Beijing in 2011, a decrease of 617,000 from 2010. It was the first time the growth rate has slowed down, according to the bureau.

Statistics from the Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport showed the average time in traffic jam for each work day is an hour and five minutes, reduced by an hour and 20 minutes compared with that of 2010.

Zhao Xiuchi, a professor at the Capital University of Economics and Business, believes that the car plate lottery cannot effectively ease traffic in the long run.

"This limit is just a temporary solution, and related measures should be taken to thin out the population in the center of Beijing," she told the Global Times, adding that more residences should be designated in rural areas.

A plan issued by the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Land and Resources on March 6 said no new residences within the Third Ring Road in Beijing are allowed.

Su Xiaohe, an independent economic analyst, agreed with Zhao. He wrote in an article that authorities should not interfere in the car industry. He also expressed concerns over the business of second-hand cars under the restriction.

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