Beijing, which will host the 2008 Olympics, plans to invest more than 70 billion yuan to improve its public transport network, the city government said on Wednesday.
The 71.5-billion-yuan ($9.1-billion) investment drive, which will last from now until 2010, is seen as a government endeavor to appease growing dissatisfaction over increasing traffic jams and pollution.
"Public transportation is a social welfare," Liu Xiaoming, the vice director of Beijing Municipal Committee of Communications, told a briefing. "It has been made a priority and a national strategy by the central government."
The municipal government of Beijing aims to increase the proportion of people choosing public transport to at least 40 percent by 2010. To achieve this it will extend the mileage of the metro and adjust bus routes and prices, Liu said.
By the end of last year, only around 29 percent of residents chose public transport when they went out.
Fast-modernizing Beijing has nearly three million registered motor vehicles, including nearly two million private cars, and the number is increasing by more than 1,100 a day, state media reported last month.
Travel speed in Beijing, possibly China's most congested city, averages about 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) per hour during traffic peaks in the city center, slower than bicycling.