Number-plate plan becomes a little odd

By Liu Jun ( China Daily ) Updated: 2008-07-01 11:08:49

Dad called me with much excitement: "We've found a big electric bicycle shop. Will you come and see?" I thought he and mom were buying vegetables, but they had taken buses to a faraway community to search for bicycles at more reasonable prices.

From July 20 to September 20, the odd and even license plate number system will operate to ease traffic pressure during the Olympic and Paralympic games.

A Xinhua report says Beijing has some 3.29 million vehicles, and some 4 million people will have to take public transportation every day once half of the cars are off the road.

Our car is even-numbered, which means that for half of the week, we'll have to find an alternative means to send our son to kindergarten, which is about an hour's walk away.

There are no bus stops in the community in which we live. The nearest bus stop is a 30-minute walk away, and I seldom see any buses coming by.

Perhaps I've become lazy, but I really dislike peddling a bike along the busy roads. Too often have I heard how exhaust fumes cause permanent health damage in Children. Electric bicycles are faster, but cost nearly 10 times that of a common bicycle at about 2,000 yuan ($289). A longer-lasting battery-driven cycle costs up to 4,000 yuan.

My parents prefer the cheaper electric tricycle, which has a soft seat for two at the back. Many elderly people would have a canvas cover installed to shelter both the rider and passengers.

However, we worry about their safety, especially because thousands of new drivers hit the road every day, and our parents still need time to learn the traffic rules.

Some well-off families have resorted to a second car to solve the problem. But I heard that a man got 10 license numbers to choose from at the Traffic Management Bureau, and all of them were odd, the same as his old car. Many online communities in Beijing have launched discussions about sharing the car. People would share whether their cars are even- or odd-tailed, the number of passengers, the starting point and time, the route and the destination.

Considering the rising price of gasoline, finding passengers to share rising car costs is a welcome idea. When we first bought our car about seven years ago, filling up our 35-liter tank cost less than 100 yuan. We pay double that today.

But there are also debates over whether drivers are making a profit out of the car-sharing scheme. Some say that even a pack of cigarettes offered by the passenger would turn the driver into an "underground Taxi driver", and he should pay tax for it.

But more argue about its positive effects on the environment and the possibility of romantic encounters among available drivers and passengers. For us, however, maybe the most realist solution is our old, manual bicycle. There is a bumpy lane across the grass-covered countryside to the kindergarten. It will have the benefit of helping my husband and me lose a few extra pounds.

    (China Daily 07/01/2008 page20)

Editor's Picks
Hot words

Most Popular