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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' at 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid