Thursday, April 26, 2007
Beijing Traffic Blues
The Chinese capital's rush hour periods are completely unpredictable.
Some days (depending on the taxi driver) I can get to work in a record 20 minutes. But today has to be a record so far of 40 minutes. And I left before 8am.
There's a "fact" that 1,000 new cars flood Beijing's already clogged streets everyday. I asked a taxi driver about it and he seemed to think it was true.
With the average salary at 3,000 RMB (US$389) a month, how can they afford a car?
One thousand people a day seem to scrape the money together.
But what I discovered is that cars here are much cheaper than in North America.
The cheapest set of wheels will set you back 20,000RMB (US$2600), all the way up to 120,000RMB (US$15,600).
Gas is cheap too, but at a much lower grade than in North America, which explains the pollution and the cars not lasting very long either.
And get this -- car manufacturers are starting to drastically cutting prices because the original prices are too high!
I don't know if the Beijing transport authority realizes they're going to have to either build more roads faster or jack up taxes to limit the number of cars on the road.
At this rate it looks like I'm going to get to work later and later....!