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Beijingers, start your engines

Updated: Sep 3,2014 2:42 PM     Xinhua

Beijing entered what has become its most congested month on Monday, as the now ubiquitous “school run” clogged the city thoroughfares on the first day of the new school term.

More than 6,000 traffic police and 1,500 vehicles were on the streets during the Monday morning rush hour but struggled to keep traffic flowing with the congestion on major roads lasting until 11 a.m., according to the official microblog of the Public Security Bureau.

Then, at noon, the city weather bureau rained on the parade by issuing a blue alert for downpours during the evening rush hour.

Beijing’s traffic commission has dubbed September “the most congested” and it is not just about Beijing’s youngsters returning to their educative toils. Manic shopping sprees are associated with for the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holidays on Sept. 8 and Oct. 1, and a deluge of family members pours into the capital from every corner of the nation to celebrate.

The commission has asked Beijingers to take public transport and shun rush hours this month, more in hope than expectation.

Having analyzed statistics from the last three years, the traffic watchdog has forecast that as many as 2.36 million vehicles will be traveling within the city’s fifth ring road each day this month, around 100,000 more than other times of the year.

Despite regulations limiting the number of new cars coming onto the roads and an odd/even plate number system on weekdays, with more than 5 million vehicles, Beijing’s congestion and the dirty air associated with it seem set be around for some time to come.

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