The Chinese government wants to eradicate the intense traffic jams in Beijing and as part of this endeavor, it revealed just how many government vehicles there are in the capital. The public has long been accusing these vehicles as a major cause of the traffic situation.
The Beijing Municipal Finance Bureau’s official Web site showed that as of the end of 2010, the different central and municipal government departments owned 62,026 vehicles. Of this number, the municipal government owned 20,288 units. Last Friday, Beijing raised the parking fees in non-residential areas to lessen the cars on the city roads.
It’s the first time that a Chinese city revealed how many government vehicles it owns. Late last year, local lawyer Ye Xiaojing sent authorities of public security, transport and finance an application that urged them to give this information to the public.
The finance bureau promptly responded and pledged to reveal the figure in March after the compilation of the actual budget for 2010 is completed. By the end of 2010, Beijing had registered over 4.8 million motor vehicles. About 800,000 of these were bought only in 2010.
A private car in Beijing travels 15,000 km a year – more than twice than the figure in Tokyo. Guo Jifu, director of the Beijing Transport Research Center, said that the quick rise in the volume of vehicles is a major factor in Beijing’s traffic problems. Beijing improved its public transport and infrastructure in 2004 to reduce traffic congestion but the impact was offset by the quick rise in the number of vehicles.