Chinese city waives bus fares to ease traffic woes

October 13, 2012
BEIJING, Oct 13 — The Chinese city of Chengdu in Sichuan province is now offering free bus rides to commuters in a bid to tackle the city’s traffic woes, the Global Times has reported.

File photo of motorists on the way to work and school in Chengdu on September 18, 2012. — AFP pic

Thirty-three bus routes are now free of charge to commuters until June 30 next year. More free bus routes will be rolled out by the end of this month, bringing a total number of free bus services to 44 in the city.
As part of a broader initiative to ease traffic congestion in the city, Chengdu’s municipal public transport service will also offer discounts on metro fares to encourage people to take public transport.

According to a spokesperson for the Chengdu Municipal Public Transport Group Corp, a new regulation has also been put in place barring some vehicles from the streets on certain days based on vehicle plate numbers. This measure, to tackle the country’s growing road congestion problem, has already been enforced in other Chinese cities in the country, including Beijing.

According to the daily, the free bus ride initiative is proving more successful than anticipated, as larger-than-ever crowds thronged bus and metro stations on Wednesday. In response, the transport firm said it would increase bus numbers and add more free bus routes in the days ahead to cope with the overwhelming demand.

China’s government has been trying to encourage the Chinese to use public transport in a bid to tackle the country’s traffic congestion problem. Last month, Shanghai announced that it would expand its network of buses routes, as well as the metro service to ease the city’s traffic jams.

Meanwhile, other Chinese cities have taken to different strategies to beat the traffic blues. For instance, Guangzhou successfully implemented its Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in 2010 where centre lanes on the roads are turned into dedicated bus lanes, freeing up the sides of roads for cars. — AFP-Relaxnews