Beijing will soon adopt policies much like London and Singapore to restrict the number of cars plying on its roads. The authorities have drafted a plan to levy congestion charges on vehicles entering certain parts of the city during rush hour. The plan is expected to come into affect later this year.
Beijing's environmental protection bureau and transport commission drafted the plan after a meeting with a political advisory body last week. They discussed "economic measures" to curb peak-time traffic jams in Beijing.
A 50-lane traffic jam in Beijing in October 2015 had trapped thousands of motorists on the G4 Beijing-Hong Kong-Macau Expressway. Another massive traffic jam between Beijing and other cities in 2010 had lasted more than 11 days.
"The aim of introducing the fees is to make it easier for citizens to travel around the city," Mao Baohua, the executive director of government-affiliated think-tank Integrated Traffic Research Centre of China, was quoted as saying by the South China Morning Post.
He had suggested a 20 yuan to 50 yuan congestion charge based on the areas a vehicle enters and the frequency of travelling within those zones in Beijing. Other metropolitan cities like London, Singapore and Stockholm currently follow such norms to cut vehicular traffic.
"London has rolled out measures since February 2003," said Mao. "At first the government charged [a daily fee of] £5 and then lifted it to £8 and subsequently increased it to £10," he added.
Beijing has close to 5.59 million vehicles and daily commutes can last up to two hours during the work week.