Friday, August 17, 2007

Beijing Bans Cars to Clear Air for Games | World Latest | Guardian Unlimited

re: "BEIJING (AP) - In a dry run for next year's Olympics, Beijing kept hundreds of thousands of private cars off city streets Friday to ease the chronic gridlock and polluted skies that threaten to mar the games. /The four-day test poses a challenge for the Chinese government's relationship with a rising middle class that has fallen in love with private car ownership. Although upwardly mobile Beijing drivers mostly went along with the plan, it wasn't without grumbling...[snip]...The ban uses an odd-even license plate number system. Only vehicles with license plates ending in odd numbers were allowed on the roads Friday. /Many commuters opted to car pool, take buses, taxis or the subway or take the day off work. The city had more buses running for longer hours and subway lines kept slightly longer hours. /Subway cars were packed with commuters during the morning rush hour and traffic on the main roads flowed faster than normal. /Beijing has been adding cars at the rate of about 1,000 per day, a pace that is not expected to slacken over the next year, and much of the year the city is cloaked in brown haze. International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge warned last week that some Olympic competitions might be postponed if the city did not clean up the pollution..."...

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