Beijing has extended its post-Olympics traffic control measures for one year after a successful initial effort at easing road congestion and curbing pollution, state media reported on Monday.The rules, first introduced in September last year following more stringent rules during the 2008 Olympic Games, will take 930,000 of the city’s 3.6 million vehicles off the roads every weekday, the China Daily reported. “Beijing’s air quality is getting better,” Li Kunsheng, head of the vehicle management section of the Beijing municipal environmental protection bureau, was quoted as saying.
He said daily vehicle emissions had fallen 10 percent since the measures were introduced on September 20, the newspaper reported. Under the system, licence plates ending with zero or five are banned from the roads on Monday, plates ending with one or six on Tuesday, two or seven on Wednesday and so on. The ban does not apply on weekends or holidays.
Small changes have been made to the rules, with the ban now effective from 7am to 8pm weekdays for private cars, compared with the previous 6am to 9pm.
Beijing’s air has for many years been among the most polluted in the world, with the fast-rising number of cars on the road one of the major contributors. Even with the previous restrictions, nearly 1,500 cars a day had been added to the streets since the beginning of the year, the official Xinhua news agency reported recently.
However, the pollution problems in the Chinese capital have indeed appeared to improve since the Olympics in August last year, with authorities implementing other measures such as moving factories out of the city.
Cars and buses also have been required to use cleaner fuels.
During the Olympics, tighter traffic restrictions limited private motorists to driving on alternate days, removing more than a million vehicles from the streets each day.