Fines for out-of-town vehicles come as a shock to many people
Police officer Sun Zhou stops a car from Tianjin at the Huagong Bridge on the Fifth Ring Road. [Photo / China Daily]
Starting Tuesday - the first working day of 2011 - vehicles that are not registered in Beijing are prohibited from entering the urban area inside the Fifth Ring Road during the two daily rush hours.
The prohibition, which is part of a range of measures aimed at easing gridlock in the capital, took many drivers from outside the capital by surprise.
"I had heard something about new regulations for the capital but I had not heard anything about cars not being allowed to enter the city during rush hour," said a truck driver surnamed Zhang from Hebei province.
"I knew nothing until I joined the Fifth Ring Road and was stopped and fined 100 yuan," he said.
Zhang told METRO at the Jinsong roadblock that he regularly travels to Beijing from Hebei province and that it was the first time he had ever been stopped.
The 30-year-old driver had to head back out of the city under the guidance of police officers.
The new rules are written on letters that have been handed out to rule-breaking drivers who are mainly from Tianjin and Hebei.
Xinhua News Agency reported on Tuesday that a total of 37 out-of-town drivers were fined during the morning rush hour for attempting to enter the city. The agency quoted Beijing traffic authorities.
"After stopping the cars, we will tell the drivers about the new regulations and guide them away from the Fifth Ring Road," said Sun Zhou, a traffic police officer from Jinsong police station.
Sun said there were two roadblocks in the Jinsong area. Drivers with out-of-town license plates were being advised to enter the city on public transportation or urged to remain in the suburbs until rush hour was over.
According to the new regulations issued by the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau (BTMB), cars from other provinces now need a permit in order to enter Beijing. In addition, they are not allowed to go inside the Fifth Ring Road from 7 to 9 am, and from 5 to 8 pm.
However, the restrictions do not apply to a special group of vehicles that includes those belonging to the army, armed police, public security police, ambulances and licensed inter-provincial coaches.
In addition, rules that restrict the use of Beijing-registered cars will be extended to include cars registered in other parts of the country.
Specifically, from Jan 9 to April 9, cars with either a 3 or 8 as the last number on the license plate will be banned from hitting the road on Mondays while ones with a 4 or 9 will be out of use on Tuesdays. Vehicles with 5 or 0 will be outlawed on Wednesdays, 1 or 6 on Thursday, and 2 or 7 on a Friday.
Breaking those rules could result in a fine of as much as 300 yuan. Drivers who are fined once and who fail to take remedial action will be liable to being fined again.
Police said that they will set up long-term stations to keep an eye out for rule-breaking vehicles.
The BTMB has recently added 1,084 traffic-monitoring cameras to its citywide network. They are mainly located in Chaoyang, Haidian and Fengtai districts and will help the police find and punish drivers who break traffic rules.
Han Bingbin contributed to this story.