New week starts a month of expected bad traffic jams in Beijing

Start of school year and Mid-Autumn holiday will put more drivers on the road

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 August, 2014, 1:25pm
UPDATED : Friday, 29 August, 2014, 2:11pm

Beijing’s traffic authorities have warned that the capital will encounter this year’s worst traffic jams starting next week and running through the month of September

Travel demands are expected to peak as schools start the new semester and residents prepare for the three-day Mid-Autumn Day holiday beginning next Saturday, the municipal congestion control taskforce said in a notification to municipal government agencies.

The document posted on the Beijing government website today said September 28 would be the day with the worst  congestion as that Sunday has been declared a workday to make way for a week-long National Day holiday beginning on October 1. Many residents will travel before the holiday, and those who commute to work by car will not have the usual traffic restrictions based on the last digit of their  plate numbers because the rule doesn’t apply on Sundays.

Officials fear the congestion index will be above 9 that day on a 10-point scale.

September has traditionally been most traffic-jammed month of the year. The taskforce said the congestion indexes for Septembers between 2010 and last year varied between 5.8 and 7.6, all the highest monthly figures for the given year and at least 20 per cent higher than the year’s average.

On September 17, 2010, major roads in the capital were severely clogged for more than 11 hours. The last digits for the  license plate restrictions that day were 9 and 4.

The number four is considered unlucky in Chinese culture.