Shanghai residents go 'BMW' to beat jams
Updated: 2012-09-27 01:44
By Wu Yiyao in Shanghai (China Daily)
An increasing number of Shanghai residents are abandoning their cars and adopting what has been dubbed the BMW commute pattern — bus, metro, walk — to avoid traffic jams and parking charges.
Gu Liping, 34, recently stopped driving his car to work and moved to public transport, saving himself 40 minutes a day in travel time and 600 yuan ($95) a month in parking fees and gas.
"I used to think driving was more convenient than taking the subway, but as Shanghai’s traffic has grown, public transport has become more comfortable and flexible," he said.
It takes Gu about 55 minutes by car from home to work and costs 20 yuan per day to park, but takes just 35 minutes by subway and costs 4 yuan for a single-trip ticket.
Gu is not alone in going BMW. About 47 percent of Shanghai residents who commute between work and home chose public transport last year, and the numbers are growing, Sun Jianping, head of the Shanghai Municipal Transport and Port Authority, said on Wednesday.
The city is expanding its public transport network to meet the increasing demand and ease traffic congestion, he added.
This includes plans to expand bus lanes from the existing 162 km to 300 km by the end of 2015, according to the municipal government.
Ding Shoufeng, a Shanghai bus driver, said that special bus lanes cut the time it takes to cover his route by a quarter, or 10 minutes, during non-peak times.
Shanghai has no plans to charge drivers a congestion fee or introduce traffic control measures, said Sun, adding that the city prefers instead to ease congestion by creating a public transport network that people want to travel on.
"Building an outstanding public transportation system will help enhance the city’s competitive edge and will support the creation of an environmentally friendly society," Sun said.
Currently, Shanghai has around 50 bus hubs linking 208 routes and 55 metro stations across 12 subway lines.
The number of taxis in the city has also risen to 50,438, up 6 percent from 2005, according to the government.