BEIJING, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese government has vowed to introduce more measures to prioritize the development of public transport systems in the country's increasingly congested urban areas.
In downtown areas, there should be a bus stop every 500 meters. The use of public transport should account for about 60 percent of motor vehicle use, according to a statement by the State Council, China's cabinet, released Saturday on the official website of the Chinese government, www.gov.cn.
Airport shuttle buses, school buses and shuttle buses for specific institutions can use public transport lanes, and more efforts will be made to improve the taxi booking system, according to the statement.
Authorities will expand the public transport vehicle fleet and ask bus operators to increase driving speeds.
According to the statement, between 2011 and 2015, public transport vehicles will be exempt from the consumption tax and they will enjoy favorable rates in vehicle and vessel tax and electricity charges. They will also receive subsidies for fuel and diesel use.
Roads have become overcrowded in many Chinese cities, especially in mega-cities like Beijing and Shanghai, due to the explosion in private car consumption and poor driving habits.
According to a survey on daily commutes conducted by IBM in 2011, Beijing has the second worst traffic jams in the world, after Mexico City. Shenzhen, a booming economic hub in southern China, ranked third on the list.
Local governments have taken measures to cope with traffic congestion in major cities, including instituting a license plate lottery to curb the number of new vehicles allowed on the roads each year and a scheme that keeps private cars off roads on certain days based on license plate numbers.
A set of tougher traffic rules took effect Jan. 1, but residents remain stuck in traffic.