Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Back in Business


I'm back.

And with a new password too.

Who knows why this glitch happened. All I know is that it's good to be back online at home.

What else is back?

The horrendous traffic.

After the four-day test to get half of Beijing's cars off the roads, everyone was eager to get back behind the wheels of their vehicles and create a huge traffic jam during the morning and evening rush hours.

It was back to inching across the highway and people jammed into buses.

The sky looked about the same to me as you can see from the picture, but air quality officials said there was a noticeable difference, saying that the air quality was Grade II, suitable for holding international events. It was a way for Beijing to save face after International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said events might have to be postponed if the air quality was bad.

And in a hope to keep people out of their cars, city officials are about to launch a bike rental program. Fifty thousand bicycles will be available for a 100RMB (US$13) one-year contract plus a 400RMB deposit. They claim they have piloted the project in 31 locations in Beijing.

While it's a great idea, I wonder if this project will sustain itself in the long term in this city where people are more concerned about the status symbol of the car than leaving less of an eco-footprint.

I hope they prove me wrong.

2 comments:

ks said...

the bike project has been in practice for years in a number of european countries such as copenhagen and amsterdam. it is free. people just pick up the bikes in different stations in the city and park them after use at designated spots. but in beijing with the people not as well educated , i dont know how diciplined of the individual citizens are. thus the set up of rental and deposits. people living in the inner city may use it. but those living further out in the suburbs will need mass transit like subway, light rail and buses.

Anonymous said...

i am puzzled, if there were so many cars off the road those 4 days, where did all the people go? you mentioned this was held over a weekend, but what about the weekdays? very suspicious...