News / Asia

Beijing Rolls Out Carpool Campaign

Carpool Campaign Gets Rolling in China’s Capitali
X
July 31, 2013 2:50 PM
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.
William Ide
For more than a decade, Wang Yong has been on a one-man crusade in Beijing, giving others rides into the city.

“I’ve been carpooling for 15 years and for the first 13 years I’ve done it alone,” said Wang. “Every day when I was going to work or coming back I would give people a ride who were going in the same direction."

Wang estimated that he’s given at least 10,000 people rides and said it’s even how he met his wife.

Beijing has more than five million registered cars on the road and its traffic and pollution woes are no small problem. Traffic jams abound and commuters cram into buses and metro trains. Traffic pollution is a significant cause of the city's notorious smog.

The government has taken aggressive steps to cut down the number of cars on the road, restricting vehicles from driving on certain days during the week. The government has even banned official cars from use when pollution levels peak.

Still, most cars on the road are only carrying their driver. And that is what Wang Yong and his campaign, Shunfeng Che, which means carpooling in Chinese, is trying to change.

For several years now, Wang has been expanding on his earlier efforts, sponsoring a carpool campaign during the Chinese New Year to help link up drivers and commuters, taking advantage of social media networks and the Internet.

Last month, he helped launch a new campaign on the outskirts of Beijing in Huilongguan, a major commuting hub with about two-thirds the population of the U.S. capital Washington D.C.

Organizer Liu Kunming said that nearly 2,000 people have already joined.

“Our main objective is to convince the government to run this kind of program,” said Liu.  “We hope that all highways in Beijing can implement this sort of policy, that if a car carries at least three people they can waive the highway toll to get in and out of the city. This will encourage more car owners to pool their cars.”

Carpooling is commonplace in big cities in Europe and America. Some even have special lanes for those who ride together.

The Shunfeng Che campaign originally sought government support to give participants a free pass on highway tolls, in the end, the campaign’s organizers had to cover the costs until the campaign ends in mid-September.

However, the Beijing city government has listed carpooling as one of a handful of solutions to the capital’s traffic in its annual review. Chinese media are reporting that the campaign Shunfeng Che has launched will play a key role in the city government’s traffic review and its consideration of a carpooling policy.

For some, there is no need to wait for the government. For them, the benefits of carpooling are already obvious.

One carpooler surnamed Liu who pulled up at the campaign’s stop this week in Huilongguan said he and his friends have been driving together over the past three years, even though they all owned cars.

“We’re friends and know each other well, and traffic is increasingly heavy so driving one car is very convenient. Parking spaces are few and we can save on gas and highway tolls. There many advantages,” he said.

Wang said that he’s hopeful that the government will introduce regulations that help promote carpooling this year. He said the government and Chinese media have been showing more support now than ever before, but trust between passengers and carpool drivers was still an obstacle.

“For me carpooling has always been a way to share and to build trust among people," said Wang. “Now, I believe with this method we can cut emissions, we can ease traffic and build mutual trust.”

Wang said that if at least 10 percent of the drivers of cars on the streets would get on board, even that would go a long way to cutting pollution and easing traffic.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid