Posts Tagged ‘traffic’

Taxi take on Olympic traffic

Monday, September 15th, 2008

Five days from now Beijing’s drivers will be able to hit the roads each day without having to consider whether it’s an even or odd calendar day. Since the 20th of July traffic load restrictions have been in force. Besides keeping half the city’s private cars off the road, heavy trucks have been banned from coming within the 5th Ring. Curious, I struck up a conversation with one of the city’s many friendly cabbies kicking off with, “Did the restrictions increase your daily fares?”. Surprisingly, he claimed only a 10% rise in takings.

The designated Olympic lanes on major arteries meant that traffic levels were close to normal. Also, he noted a sharp drop in domestic tourism during the games. “Provincial visitors flock to shopping centres at weekends and take taxis as they don’t know how to use public transport. But they’ve stayed away during the Olympics.” he said. It wasn’t so bad during the first 3 weeks as he’d get 7-8 foreign tourist fares a day, but since then it’s been relatively slow, especially at the end of the week. Of course, one taxi driver does not a survey make, but an interesting insight nevertheless.