BEIJING - Beijing Wednesday conducted its first ever car license plate lottery, designed to restrict vehicle purchases and curtail worsening traffic jams.
Beijing's first ever car license plate lottery is conducted, Jan 26, 2011. [Photo/Xinhua]
The lottery, which started at 10 am in a meeting room with the Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport (BMCT), was attended by representatives of the applicants, statistics experts and transport officials to ensure the openness, fairness and equity.
A total of 17,600 applicants -- from a total of 210,178 -- were awarded plates at Wednesday's lottery, the first since the Beijing municipal government put in place the scheme at the end of last year.
The new mechanism seeks to reduce new car registrations by allowing only 240,000 this year, about a third of the number registered in 2010.
Data from the BMCT shows the number of cars in Beijing more than quadrupled from 1 million in 1997 to 4.76 million in 2010.
Last year, Beijing saw an annual record of 800,000 new cars take to the already overcrowded streets.
A record 140 traffic jams were monitored on a single evening in September last year, making parts of the city resemble parking lots.
The municipal government has also introduced higher parking fees in downtown areas and stricter enforcement of traffic rules to ease the traffic woes.
In the meantime, the city authorities have vowed to freeze the number of cars owned by government organizations.
The lottery process was broadcast live on TV and the Internet to the public.
Applicants can check the results on-line 25 minutes after the lottery or by phone one hour later.