Guangzhou steps up traffic fight

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 January, 2011, 12:00am

Guangzhou authorities are mulling a comprehensive package to beat the city's traffic gridlock, which seems to have worsened since the end of the Asian Games, local media reported.

But unlike Beijing - which rolled out a slew of controversial measures mainly targeting private cars to ease its notorious road congestion, one of the worst in the world - Guangzhou has no plan to restrict car purchases at the moment.

According to The Southern Metropolis News, Guangzhou's measures will focus on expanding the public transport sector in the next five years, including building nine subway lines and allocating over 200 kilometres of special lanes for buses during rush hours.

The package, jointly compiled by 30 mainland traffic experts, includes about 30 measures to combat congestion, such as relocating dozens of parking lots for trucks and barring cars without Guangzhou plates in the city centre.

The package is aimed at easing traffic jams in the downtown areas in the next three years and promoting the use of public transport to 70 per cent by 2015 from less than 60 per cent by the end of last year. The report did not say how much money would be spent to implement the measures.

Guangzhou has more than two million registered vehicles, including 1.6 million cars. More than 300,000 new cars hit the road last year alone.

In a move to ease gridlocks and curb vehicle-related pollution, Guangzhou authorities had to remove about half of the city's vehicles from its roads each day during the Asian Games in November.

The city government is also reportedly considering extending such restrictions based on even-odd number plates to tackle the traffic problem, which has become a source of widespread public dissatisfaction.