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Congestion charge on horizon for Beijing

By Pang Qi Source:Global Times Published: 2012-8-17 23:25:04

Beijing will implement a congestion charge and other measures in the next few years to help ease pressure on the capital's crowded roads, according to a recent traffic plan.

The plan was jointly released by the Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport and the Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform in July, according to a Beijing News report published Friday.

Niu Fengrui, director of the Institute for Urban and Environmental Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times Friday that collecting a congestion charge could be a palliative step to ease Beijing's traffic pressures, but will not fundamentally solve the problem.

"Charging for jammed roads will only have a temporary but limited effect, and what the government should really consider is the construction of more public transport, especially rail," Niu said.

But Xie Yan, a local resident who works for a company located on Guanghua Road in the city's CBD, and commutes via public transport, supports the government plans. "Those who drive to work may give up traveling by car because of the new fee, and it is environmentally friendly," she said.

Niu says that even if the city benefits from the congestion fee, other policies or metropolitan advantages will attract people from elsewhere to Beijing, offsetting the reduction of traffic.

However, Niu mentioned that Beijing is still going through a boom period and heavy traffic is unavoidable for all growing cities. "It is a sign of growth," he stated.

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