City thinks devices will stem govt car misuse

Updated: 2011-08-10 08:22

By Zheng Caixiong (China Daily)

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GUANGZHOU - The capital city of South China's Guangdong province expects to bring the once-common misuse of official vehicles under control by putting electronic monitoring systems on all local government cars by the end of the year.

Su Zhijia, deputy Party chief of Guangzhou, said the city's Party disciplinary authority has placed priorities on better managing the use of the local government's large number of official cars and on preventing such cars from being put to private purposes.

"Guangzhou started equipping its government cars with the vehicular electronic monitoring system in June, and more than 10,000 government cars will have the equipment by the end of August," said Su, who also leads the city's Party discipline inspection commission.

Guangzhou has more than 31,000 registered government cars, and the entire Guangdong province is estimated to have 410,000 official cars.

Government cars used by prominent Party and government officials have already been equipped with the vehicular monitoring systems, Su told local media on Tuesday.

The departments that manage those cars can now know immediately where they are and can also directly call the people inside the cars or send them text messages.

Guangzhou is the first city in the southern industrial province to put the electronic monitoring systems in government cars.

Besides preventing government cars from being used for private purposes and reducing government expenditures, the devices also enforce standards for the use of government cars, make work more efficient and prevent corruption, Su said.

The electronic monitoring system was introduced into government cars after local media began carrying frequent reports in recent years of misuses of official cars, damaging the reputations of both government departments and officials.

In addition to being seen parked at scenic spots and restaurants during festivals, holidays and weekends, many government cars, according to the reports, were being used by the parents of officials to take children to and from school.

Huangpu district government departments, the city's bureau of finance and the Chengguan (urban management) authorities were the first to equip their cars with the electronic monitoring system, doing so last year.

The devices have already led to some good results.

For one, the cost of operating the cars that have the system has declined by a fourth, Su said.

Zhang Jieming, director of the city's bureau of finance, said the government pays up to 35,000 yuan ($5,442) a year for each official car it has. That money mainly goes to parking fees, tolls and gasoline.

The government also pays each government driver a monthly salary of about 5,000 yuan.

Han Zhipeng, a member of the city's political advisory body, said the introduction of the monitoring system will make the authorities' fleet of cars easier to manage, reduce the number of government cars that are used for non-official purposes and reduce what the government spends on the vehicles.

Wang Longxing, a local white-collar worker, said the introduction of the system will certainly help reduce the number of government cars traveling the city's streets and roads, especially during holidays and weekends, and help to combat the traffic congestion often found in Guangzhou.


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