City of Beijing to levy traffic congestion charges in 2016
The city of Beijing will start levying traffic congestion charges on vehicles in downtown areas next year, making it the first Chinese city to do so to crack down on excess traffic and related pollution.
Beijing appears to be emulating a congestion fee pioneered by London in 2003. Singapore followed suit, and the city of Melbourne is considering one.
There are 5.6 million vehicles registered in Beijing, the largest fleet among Chinese cities. Vehicle emissions and coal-burning industries in neighboring provinces have made Beijing one of the most polluted cities in China.
To reduce air pollution, Beijing may introduce tougher emissions standards for vehicles in 2017. The city has adopted State 5 emission standards, which are similar to Euro 5 emission standards.
Beijing also is the first city in China to restrict sales of new cars. Since 2011, the city has limited sales of gasoline-powered vehicles to 20,000 a month to ease gridlock and pollution. Electric cars and plug-in hybrid vehicles are exempt from the rule.