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Vehicle Total in Beijing to Reach 3.35 Mln During Olympics

Beijing's motor vehicle total will reach 3.35 million in August, when the Olympics will be staged, according to sources with the Municipal government Thursday.

With a daily growth of 1,300 vehicles, the city is faced with increasing problems of congestion and pollution. Up to Tuesday, the city has seen a total of 3.23 million vehicles.

More than two million of the vehicles are cars, according to the Beijing Municipal Traffic Management Bureau.

The traffic ban will be imposed during the Olympic Games, with the vehicle owners affected compensated by the government, said an official with the municipal government. The government official said that the plan was being drafted and the amount of compensation has not yet been decided.

Automobiles, excluding taxis, buses and emergency vehicles, are to stay off the roads every other day in accordance with the even and odd numbers on the license plates. Half of the many government vehicles in the city will also be off the road at any one time, but it is not known how many vehicles will affect.

The ban is aimed to ensure better air quality during the sport events in Beijing.

Beijing tested a traffic ban from August 17 to 20 last year, removing 1.3 million or one third of automobiles from its streets, which, according to an earlier report, reduced exhaust emissions by 40 percent each day.

The air quality seemed improved during the four-day trial, with the pollution index standing between 93 and 95, down from 116 on the day prior to the test. A level of 116 would be misty, with visibility significantly impaired.

Several Chinese cities, including Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai have considered congestion fees in recent years.

East China's Jiangsu Province capital Nanjing city is considering the concept of levying a fee on vehicles entering the city center during peak times.

There are no plans to introduce congestion charging in Beijing in time for the Olympics.

(Xinhua News Agency March 28, 2008)

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