Beijing will open eight local-level license plate registration centers in as many suburban districts and counties to cope with a sharp increase in car ownership.
People in these areas will be allowed to apply for license plates for newly bought vehicles at these new third-tier vehicle administration stations starting Monday, the Beijing vehicle administration office said yesterday.
The new centers target residents who live in outlying districts or counties, including Fangshan, Tongzhou, Shunyi, Pinggu, Huairou, Miyun, Mentougou and Yanqing, and will handle license applications for compact cars and non-commercially used minibuses. People in these areas who buy larger vehicles such as vans, still need to visit second-tier vehicle administration offices to apply for license plates.
There are six second-tier vehicle administration offices, and 20 third-tier offices, including the eight new ones, operated by the Beijing vehicle administrative office.
A new policy, in which Beijing vehicle owners can apply for license plates at any vehicle administration office, will also take effect on Monday. Previously, vehicle owners had to apply for license plates at the vehicle administration office of the district where there are registered as permanent residents.
The new policy does not apply to residents of Daxing and Changping districts.
"It is already convenient for car owners in these districts to apply for license plates," said Hu Wenbin, vice-director of the Beijing traffic management bureau's press office.
Another exception to the new policy is if residents get a new vehicle inspected at an official inspection center, then they must apply for the license plates in an office in the same district as the inspection center.
But the new policy will save many Beijing residents a lot of time and a lot of gas, said Liu Zheng, political commissar of the Beijing vehicle administration office
"If residents living in Pinggu or Shunyi bought a new vehicle, for example, they previously had to drive more than 60 kilometers to the second-tier Jingshun office. Now they can save that gasoline," said Liu.
He said the new policy might save residents in suburban areas a combined total of about six million km of driving.
He added that increase of vehicle ownership might have been due to a national policy to encourage vehicle sales in suburban areas.
Suburban vehicle sales have accounted for almost 39 percent of all vehicles sales in the capital so far this year, an increase of 51.3 percent over the same period last year.
According to the latest statistics, Beijing had 4.13 million vehicles as of Feb 28.
The new policy does not apply to foreigners who buy vehicles in capital.