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August 22, 2012

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Home » Metro » Public Services

No congestion fees for Shanghai

Shanghai has no plans to charge motorists a "road congestion fee," the city transport bureau said yesterday after Beijing announced such an initiative.

"Shanghai is currently not considering adopting a road congestion fee to tackle its traffic problems," Sun Jianping, director of the Shanghai Transport and Port Bureau, said yesterday.

The city had already adopted a car plate auction to control its swelling car numbers so government officials would be "very prudent" in considering any additional curbs, Sun said.

Last week, the capital announced that it was developing a package of measures, including charging drivers to use the roads during peak hours. Some foreign cities, including London, Paris and Rome, already levy such charges to relieve their traffic headaches.

Beijing urban planners said a congestion fee would be one of the key elements of its upcoming traffic-smoothing methods and the government was currently working on the details and how much the charge should be.

Sun said that Shanghai would instead remain focused on improving its public transport system as a way of solving the problem of too many cars on the road.

Meanwhile, there are no signs that the price of Shanghai car plates would be coming down in the near future.

The lowest price of a city plate reached 62,100 yuan (US$9,770) at this month's auction, 4,400 yuan more than in July.

There are about 1.29 million sedans with local plates in Shanghai and it is estimated that the number will increase to 1.4 million by end of the year.

There are also about 560,000 private cars with non-local plates on Shangai's streets. This includes many owners who live in Shanghai but have bought cheaper out-of-town plates. Cars with non-local plates are banned on elevated roads during rush hour.

The city recently said they were considering extending the duration of the elevated roads ban for non-local plates to ease traffic pressure. The announcement may have contributed to the price rise at last Saturday's auction.

Officials have repeatedly said that the plate auction system has helped control the number of private cars in the city since it was introduced in 1994. But they also admitted they were under pressure as to how to further strengthen curbs, given continuous growth in the volume of traffic.

The city government said it collected about 6.7 billion yuan from plate auctions in 2009 and 2010 and about 5.45 billion had been spent on improving public transport, such as the opening of new bus routes and funding of bus travel discount schemes.


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