In all the hoopla surrounding Wednesday’s Olympics countdown extravaganza on Tian’anmen Square, Asia Times correspondent Edward Russell was among the few to note that one of the city’s most important preparations for 2008 ” a test-run of the vehicle ban designed to ease the city’s infamous traffic” failed to happen:
On Tuesday, the day the ban was supposed to be implemented, representatives of the BEPB [Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau] confirmed that it did not go into effect as planned. They refused to provide any explanation.
Not surprisingly, the majority of morning commuters on Tuesday had no idea that a car ban was even supposed to go into effect. [Full Text]
The lead article (Chinese) in today’s Beijing Times suggests the test ban has been rescheduled for August 17″20. According to traffic authorities, cars bearing odd-numbered license plates will be allowed to drive on the 17th and 19th while cars with even-numbered plates will be set free to roam on the 18th and 20th. The ban is supposed to take 1.3 million vehicles off the city’s perpetually teeming streets. But will it actually happen?
A nameless Transportation Bureau representative interviewed by the Beijing Times was confident the city would be able to follow through. Evidence? According to the rep, of the 500,000 cars the city banned from the roads during this year’s China-Africa summit, 43 “sneaked onto the roads,” and all were busted either by police or by the city’s recently installed traffic monitoring cameras.
No word in the report on what exactly will happen to the offending drivers.
[Image: Illustration from Beijing Times report on proposed test-run of Olympics vehicle ban, by Ding Huayong.]