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.
    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 Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora