Beijing's car-free day gets mixed reception
Could you cope without a car for a day? That was the question posed yesterday when one of the country's non-governmental organisations (NGOs) called on people to cycle, walk, and use public transportation in honour of World Car-Free Day (WCFD).
"We distributed more than 1,500 posters around Beijing," said Song Xi, programme co-ordinator for Global Village of Beijing, an NGO dedicated to the promotion of sustainable development and an environmentally friendly lifestyle.
Besides putting up posters, the environmental protection group organized cycling tours of Beijing last weekend that were attended by more than 400 volunteers, most of them university students.
"With no feedback from the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau, it is hard to say whether there are fewer cars on the roads," Song said. "However, some people did call our office to say they would not start their engines today."
Statistics show that at least nine cities across China were observing WCFD, including Shanghai, Shenzhen and Taipei.
On September 17, in Shanghai, around 500 bicycles started a city tour from Shanghai Stadium in an effort to promote the event.
Zhang Peng, a BP employee in Beijing who drives more than 30 kilometres every day between his home and office, was one supporter of the event. "It is the first time I have been to work by bus, and it is almost as convenient as driving," he said.
"I will be using public transport more often and invite my colleagues to join