Beijing Plans to Introduce Congestion Fees image

China plans to cut emissions and ease traffic by imposing road-congestion charges on drivers.

The Beijing government plans to impose road-congestion charges on drivers and also expand the subway network, encourage the use of bicycles and increase the bus lanes, part of its 5-year plan to cut emissions and ease traffic jams.

“Beijing faces a serious test in the next five years with the rapid growth in population and number of vehicles, ” the commission said in its plan, which covers the period from 2011 to 2015.

No details were offered about the congestion fees or when they will be applied, but if the plan goes ahead Beijing will join Singapore and London as cities to impose congestion charges. China has already limited the number of new car registrations and also the use of private cars on certain days according to their license plate numbers.

Beijing also plans to reduce the growth of official cars and lower the emissions by 10% from the 2010 level. In the first quarter traffic jams were reduced with 55 minutes on weekdays compared to 75 minutes in 2011. Two years ago commuters were spending about 2 hours and 25 minutes daily in gridlock.