Published July 31, 2013
China’s capital Beijing is one of the world’s most polluted cities. Many blame the frequent smog on the city’s more than five million vehicles. But, where some see cars as a source of pollution, others see a solution as well. VOA’s Bill Ide reports from the Chinese capital about efforts to make carpooling more common place.
Beijing NGO launches a charity program to encourage carpooling
Huilongguan, a large residential area on Beijing’s northern outskirts, is home to approximately 400,000 people, many of whom travel more than 12 km every day to work in the city’s downtown area.
Morning commuters squeeze into buses already at capacity. Subway cars are so crowded that riders can barely turn around. And private car owners have to contend with traffic congestion on the Badaling Highway.
Wang Yong, founder of the Shunfengche Charity Foundation (Shunfeng means “free ride” in Chinese), decided to change the situation by introducing carpooling to the community.
The foundation piloted carpooling in the Huilongguan area from June 17 to July 16. Now the program has been extended until September 20. Private car owners who provide rides to more than two passengers during the 7-9 a.m. rush hour period get their 5-yuan ($0.82) highway toll paid by the foundation.
Volunteers have been recruited to promote the program to car owners. They were also stationed at Huilongguan and nearby Xisanqi entrances to the Badaling Highway to issue toll vouchers for those carrying at least two passengers. Ten huge billboards have been erected along the highway to advertise the campaign.
Read the article on Beijing review.com http://www.bjreview.com.cn/nation/txt/2013-08/19/content_561148.htm (Accessed September 18, 2013)
Ride sharing can ease traffic, environment woes
Daily free ride sharing is urged in Beijing as the city is frequently engulfed by haze this spring and burdened by increasingly heavier traffic.
Initiated by charity big names Wang Yong and Deng Fei and CCTV broadcasters Lang Yongchun and Zhao Pu before this year’s Spring Festival, the campaign helped 9,678 people go home by pairing up with private car drivers as train tickets were hard to grab during the annual travel peak.
“We can do it not only for Spring Festival, but every day,” said Wang on Tuesday. Wang has been offering free rides to strangers in Beijing for years. “I hope such ‘people power’ will serve as an alternative way to tackle traffic jams and environmental pollution.”
The campaigners called on private car owners and passengers to share rides not only during festivals, but in daily commuting or even an occasional ride.
People can find their ride share partners through an app, an SMS service (send 66 to 1066958800) or an official website (www.shunfengche.org/). All the systems present personal information if people want to pair up and get insurance coverage for free after they reach an online agreement to travel together.
Read the article on China Daily http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2013-03/20/content_16324420.htm (Accessed September 18, 2013)
Beijing to legalize carpooling
The Beijing government is making new efforts to improve the city’s traffic by legalizing car-pooling among private car owners, Chinanews.com reports.
Car-pooling can reduce the number of cars on the road by 10 to 25 per cent, effectively releasing the traffic pressure in Beijing, according to Wang Yong who initiated a “hitch-hiking scheme” which offers car services during rush hours.
Jia Xinguang, standing director of the China Automobile Dealers Association says it also lays down problems and challenges for Beijing, such as passenger safety and differentiating between legal and illegal private cars.
Only directions for car-pooling are available at the moment. More details and guidelines are expected to be released by the end of the year.
Read the article on China.org.cn http://www.china.org.cn/china/2013-07/03/content_29309226.htm (Accessed September 18, 2013)