And apparently it’s only going to keep getting worse. This is an article from thebeijinger.com, a very useful resource, forum, and blog platform for everything Beijing:
The Chinese government has been taking steps to try and reduce traffic. One rule that has been in place since around the time of the Olympics has been restricting the days that people are allowed to drive. This is regulated according to license plate number. So, for example, if your plate number ends in 2 or 7 you can’t drive on Tuesdays. (You can read about these rules here). This hasn’t been enough apparently as now the government is planning to require new car buyers to submit themselves in a lottery to apply for the right. This was a situation I encountered in my search for a motorcycle as I found that it’s not possible to apply for a new license plate anymore, you have to just buy a used one. The lottery is a new rule the government is exploring after having one of the worst traffic jams ever this summer that lasted 10 days and over 60 miles! One thing that could also help with congestion is the opening of a brand new subway line, line 15, as Beijing has been rapidly opening new lines since the Olympics (at least 3 in the past 2 years).
All I can say is that I’m grateful for the scooter that I’ve been borrowing from my friend. It has been saving me about 10-20 minutes on my morning commute and up to an hour on my trip back home at night, because for some reason the PM rush hour is much worse despite taking the same bus route back home. There is a certain luxury to being able to zip around the traffic jams, despite having to brave the sub-freezing temperatures.