Advanced Search
Business | Metro | Nation | World | Sports | Features | Specials | Delta Stories
Leave the car at home, drive a green bargain
17/9/2007 9:49

China launched its first national urban public transport week yesterday to promote energy saving and environmental protection.

The campaign arrives as many of China's cities are becoming increasingly plagued with traffic congestion and pollution caused by vehicles.

The campaign, entitled "Green Transport and Health," covers 108 cities including Shanghai, Beijing and Tianjin and will last till Saturday, said the Ministry of Construction.

"Green Transport and Health" will encourage people to walk, ride bicycles and take public transport facilities instead of driving cars, the ministry said.

On Saturday, each of the 108 cities will set aside one or more zones which will be open only to pedestrians, bicycle riders, taxis and buses from 7am to 7pm.

Extra buses and Metro trains will be provided on the day so that people can commute with ease.

China will hold week-long campaign every year, an official with the ministry said.

Following the campaign's suggestions, three couples were married on a bus in Harbin, the capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province yesterday.

"The wedding on the bus is both romantic and environmentally friendly. It means a lot to us," one of the brides, Lin Xiaoxue, said.

"I'm very happy blending my career with my wedding. It's going to be the most valuable memory in my life," added bus driver Wang Yongguang, Lin's bridegroom.

The government in Zhengzhou, capital of central China's Henan Province, showed off a new 25-meter bus capable of carrying up to 230 passengers.

Public transport authorities in the northwestern city of Lanzhou are encouraging commuters to use the gas-powered buses to help cut the city's serious air pollution.

Several mayors and other government officials are going to work by bus, leading the way as they try to develop public transport and ease traffic jam and air pollution.

The "No Car Day" is expected to help save 33 million liters of gas and cut 3,000 tons of emissions.

The urban public transport week aims to shift the country's dependence on private cars to public transport, the ministry said.

The government has long been boosting the development of the auto industry and cities often nibble away at sidewalks and bicycle lanes to expand streets for cars.

City dwellers as a result turn to private cars to avoid crowded Metro trains and buses and traffic jams have become commonplace in Chinese cities.