BEIJING, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- "I don't think you will see a traffic jam in Beijing-- as long as you get up at 3:00 a.m. in the morning to go to work," said a microblog post by netizen "Shawn125" at sina.com.cn.
This year's Mid-Autumn Festival falls on Sept. 22, which is also Car-Free Day, observed by over 110 cities around China.
To promote a "greener" concept of transport, the Beijing municipal government will set up a special car-free zone around Wangfujing, a business hub in the central city, said Li Xiaosong, spokeswoman of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport.
The city will also launch five more bus routes on that day to encourage people to travel by public transport, rather than private cars, Li said.
"Let us embrace green transport on the Mid-Autumn Day and the Car- Free Day." said netizen "Tingtingyiyi" at sina.com.cn.
Friends of Nature (FON), a Beijing-based non-governmental organization, also launched a campaign called "Bike for Better Beijing" from Sept. 19 to 21, to advocate for more people traveling by bicycle.
"More than 60 volunteers worked on the campaign and at least 500 citizens took part in the three-day campaign," Xu Yinjie, the FON official in charge of the program, told Xinhua Tuesday.
However, chances are that people in Beijing will spend too much of their vacation in annoying traffic jams.
Beijing suffered a record 140 traffic jams in a single evening last Friday, and the situation seemed to be little improved during the following days.
"I waited from five to eight o'clock before I went home, hoping that the traffic situation would have gotten better by then. But I still spent two more hours on the road, which is normally a 15-minute ride." Beijing resident Lin Hongyin said.
Major reasons for Friday's traffic congestion were the rain that day and the holiday travel traffic, and these factors will continue to put pressure on the city's road transport during the upcoming holidays of Mid-Autumn Festival on Wednesday and National Day on Oct. 1, said Liu Jianjun, an official with the Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport.
The deteriorating situation of traffic jams in Beijing was also caused by the rapid increase in private cars in Beijing, said Guo Jifu, director of the Beijing Transportation Research Center (BTRC).
Statistics from a BTRC research program revealed that the number of registered cars in Beijing had topped 4.5 million as of this September, and the number will possibly exceed 7 million by 2015.
By 2015 it is expected the city' s road system will be over-burdened, as its full capacity is estimated to be 6.7 million vehicles, Guo said.
"If we do not take measures to contain that, the average speed of cars in the city will be somewhere less than 15 km per hour," Guo added.
Moreover, Guo said citizens' willingness to travel by bicycle was dropping.
The rate of bicycle transport in Beijing had dropped from 34.7 percent in 2003 to 18.1 percent in 2009, according to the BTRC research.
"As people's lives are improving, some tend to think that driving their private cars is a way to display their decent social status. But we are campaigning for more traveling by bike instead of driving, to promote the idea that greener transport is a more environmentally-friendly way in modern time," Xu said.
For their part, the city's traffic authorities are also improving mass transit services to make it more attractive to residents.
"Like the others working at the transport commission, I commute from home and work by mass transit at least one day every week. In the subway, I do find there is room for improvement. This is good for our work," the commission's spokesman, Li Xiaosong, said.