Mon, September 22, 2008
China > Mainland

Traffic jams after the Olympic Games ended in Beijing

2008-09-22 15:01:15 GMT2008-09-22 23:01:15 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English

This combo photo shows the traffic flow on the East Fouth Ring Road on the morning of September 22 (up) and September 19 (down) in Beijing. Today is the first weekday after the two-month alternating odd-even license plate system for the Olympic Games ended in Beijing. [CFP]

BEIJING, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- After two months of fewer cars on the road, Beijing's traffic problems resumed again Monday.

Zhang Yanqing on the No. 300 bus said she and her colleagues were all late for work.

"During the two months (of Olympics and Paralympics), I spent just one hour commuting between my home and work," said Zhang. "Today, I spent twice as much time."

Monitors at the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau (BTMB) showed36 congested intersections during evening rush hour, including the Beijing West Railway Station and business hubs like Xidan.

Even with Monday's problems, traffic jams weren't as bad as engineers have seen in the past.

"The traffic situation is generally better than that before the Games," said Shao Jie, director of the commanding center of BTMB. "Many citizens are still taking public transportation."

There are an estimated 3.29 million vehicles in Beijing.

Monday was the first day of work since a temporary automobile ban was imposed during the Olympics and Paralympics.

According to the rules, which were effective from July 20 through Sept. 20, vehicles with even and odd plates could run on alternate days in the metropolis.

Recently more than 400,000 Beijingers joined an on line discussion about whether to keep the ban. Nearly half supported a permanent vehicle restriction, while others, mostly car owners, opposed it.

Zhou Zhengyu, spokesperson with the Beijing Traffic Committee, has pledged to tackle the traffic problem but didn't specify how he would do that.

Traffic congestion is expected to get worse as the seven-day national holiday draws near.

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