More rental bikes, subway lines to ease Beijing traffic congestion

Updated: 2012-01-07 13:40


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BEIJING - Beijing will offer residents 20,000 rental bikes this year to ease the city's notorious traffic jams, according to authorities with the Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform.

Five hundred rental kiosks will be set up around the city to offer residents over 20,000 rental bikes, the commission said.

Beijing has also proposed creating new bike lanes in some areas, including main streets, historical and cultural conservation areas and some major business districts, from 2011 to 2015, according to the commission.

The capital city currently has about 5 million vehicles on its roads, leading to serious traffic congestion that frustrates the city's residents on a daily basis.

"A lack of bike lanes is the reason why I refuse to ride a bike. Bikes and vehicles are using the same lanes, and that frightens me and makes me feel unsafe," said Beijing resident Song Tao.

People often park cars on the city's existing bike lanes, pushing cyclists onto the vehicles' lanes, said Song.

To ease traffic congestion, Beijing has made various efforts to encourage people to opt for modes of public transportation.

On Dec 31, Beijing opened three new subway lines, bringing the number of subway lines in Beijing to 15, with a total length of 372 kilometers, said Beijing Metro Spokesman Jia Peng.

Beijing will open four more subway lines in 2012, according to information released at a rail transit construction mobilization conference.

Amid other measures to ease traffic in 2011, city authorities decided to allow only 240,000 vehicles to be registered annually, slashing the new car registrations by two-thirds from the 2010 level.

Meanwhile, vehicles are banned from roads one day each week according to license plate numbers.