Starting last Friday, Beijing has instituted a trial run of traffic management and pollution control measures that may be implemented for the Olympics next year. For all government and private cars, an odd/even regulation has been put into effect. Cars with license numbers that end with odd digits could drive on the 17th and 19th, and cars with license numbers that end with even digits could drive on the 18th and 20th. Taxis and buses were obviously not affected.
Traffic has been great. The streets are calm, and the congestion has been way down. Getting places by taxi has act actually been pleasant. It has made me realize that Beijing really isn’t all that big. In normal times it may take an hour to get someplace, but that someplace is rarely more than 10 or 15 miles away! Take half the cars off the road, though, and zippity-zip….you’re there.
I can’t see that it’s made any impact on the pollution, however. Last week, the forces of nature (which are much stronger than the forces of officials) gave us a week of brilliant blue skies, even with all the cars on the road. This week, the cars have been parked, but the smog and humid haze have lingered. Give it up, guys. You can’t control the weather!
Traffic, on the other hand, can be controlled, and three days into this experiment, and I say MAKE IT PERMANENT!