More cars on the road, but fewer journeys made

An annual transport report said the number of cars is expected to grow by 400,000 to 450,000 this year.

The number of cars in Shanghai with a local license plate or that has a non-local plate but has been used in the city for a substantial time reached nearly 4.7 million last year — up 460,000 from 2016 — while the daily average mileage dropped, according to an annual transport report released yesterday.

The report, by the Shanghai Urban-Rural Construction and Transportation Development Research Institute, showed that 3.2 million of these cars have a local license plate, 340,000 more than 2016. The number of new-energy vehicles also rose by 50,000 last year.

However, the daily average mileage of local cars is falling year on year, said the report.

“Various factors contributed to the drop,” said Xue Meigen, deputy head of the institute. “For example, with the extending of Metro lines, some medium-to-long trips in the city can be realized by Metro.” As for short trips, besides traditional transport like buses and taxis, “now we have new methods like online ride-hailing cars and shared bikes.”

He added rising parking costs and traffic congestion are behind the falling mileage figures.

Furthermore, the traffic congestion index on expressways and roads rose from 6 to 7 percent and from 4 to 6 percent respectively. This was due to more vehicles being on the roads, construction and changing traffic policies favoring pedestrians.

Last year, with Metro Line 9’s extension and Line 17 coming into service, the Metro network has risen to 666 kilometers, the report said. The daily average number of Metro rides hit 9.66 million. Six lines have extended operation hours.

Meanwhile, the regional integration program in the Yangtze River Delta has lifted passenger numbers on trains by 8.5 percent from 2016, with nearly 145 million users.

New options like online ride-hailing cars and shared bikes are also changing traffic patterns. The number of daily average bus rides last year declined 8 percent from 2016 to about 6 million, along with a decrease of 12 percent in conventional taxi rides.

Online ride-hailing taxis now account for 19 percent of local taxi usage.

The report said the number of cars is expected to grow by 400,000 to 450,000 this year.

The 2018 China International Import Expo, to be held in the city in November, may cause some traffic congestion in nearby areas, and the institute said it is working on plans to relieve congestion, with shuttle buses relieving the traffic burden.

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