State Council tells cities to focus on public transport
Updated: 2012-10-11 08:12
By Xu Wei (China Daily)
The State Council has told cities across China to make development of public transportation a priority.
Public transport should be the immediate concern in the development of urban transportation, and public transport - comprising rail transit, bus and tram systems - should be accelerated, according to a document released after a State Council executive meeting presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday.
Road conditions for cyclists and pedestrians should also be refined, it said.
The current public transport system still has a long way to go to meet the public's needs, and the use of public transport is still too low, the document said.
The meeting stressed the need for coordination between urbanization plans and public-transport development plans. The infrastructure and supporting facilities for public transport, including parking lots, bus dispatching centers and transit centers, should also be improved, according to the document.
The central government supports the commercialization of land that has been used for public transport, including ground and underground spaces. Revenue from commercialization could be used for infrastructure development and balance the cost of public transport.
Meanwhile, government investment into public transport will be increased during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15) period. The government will unveil policies include tax cuts, oil price subsidies and electricity price cuts for the public transport sector.
Private funds will also be encouraged to take part in the construction and operation of public transport, the document said.
Public transport road rights will also be guaranteed and cities must map out lanes for buses, which could also be shared by school buses and airport buses, it said.
The development of rail transit has been included in the urban development plans in a number of Chinese cities over the years. So far, 28 cities have had their rail transit development plans approved by the National Development and Reform Commission. According to those plans, 2,500 km of subway will be built between 2010 and 2015.
Duan Liren, a transport expert from Chang'an University in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, said local city governments' decision to develop rail transit to further promote public transportation is a good one.
"I have been in many cities worldwide, and most of the cities that cope with road congestions well have developed rail-transit systems," he said.
He also said a variety of public transport methods, including buses and trams, should be developed to further provide convenience for commuters.
"Local authorities should put real thought into how to make public transportation more accessible to residents rather than just focusing on laying a network," he said.
(China Daily 10/11/2012 page4)