Getting to work is 52 minutes' toil in Beijing traffic

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 June, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 June, 2010, 12:00am

Beijing people spend an average of almost an hour commuting to work, topping a list of 50 cities, a report has revealed.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences calculated commuting times and found Beijing's average was 52 minutes.

The other so-called first-tier cities followed, with Guangzhou at 48 minutes, Shanghai 47 and Shenzhen 46.

Residents in less developed cities spend less time on the road with an average of 24 minutes, the report said.

'Spending half an hour is not too bad but could still be improved to catch up with the international standard,' Niu Wenyuan, director of the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Sustainable Development Strategy Research Centre, said.

Beijing has nine subway lines and hundreds of bus lines, but the growth in population and private cars is overwhelming. The average traffic jam in Beijing has reportedly increased from 31/2 hours every day in 2008 to five hours today, media reports said.

Zhang Hong, a 33-year-old programmer in Beijing, said she spent at least 11/2 hours to travel from her home in Jiuxianqiao neighbourhood outside East Fourth Ring Road to Zhongguancun Software Park outside North Fifth Ring Road every morning, and that is 'when the traffic is good'.

She said: 'I take a bus, usually three stops, to the Liangmaqiao subway station to take line 10, and then at Shaoyaoju station, I change to subway line 13. After that, I need to take a shuttle bus from the subway station to my company, but if I miss the shuttle, it means 15 minutes of walking.

'When there's a traffic jam - and there always is - I will be stuck on the road for God knows how long.'

Zhang said she naps, reads novels or daydreams to pass the time, and her commute is not the worst. 'I have a colleague who lives in the Tongxian district, and the commute for her is four hours at least.'

Niu said the traffic issues should be more of a priority with policymakers as urbanisation has created serious bottlenecks in traffic flow and transport has not been able to keep pace with development.

Faster traffic

Residents in less developed cities spend less time on the road with an average, in minutes, of: 24