Public Transit City
China loves to give cities awards, for which they compete. Hours and fortunes are spent on this nonsense; school children are taken out of classes to take part in mind-numbing activities to promote efforts for whatever prize they are chasing. We get propaganda signs everywhere urging us to be clean so that we can be a “Clean City” or to be civilised so that we can be a “Civilised City”. We even once had a “Excellent WC City” prize.
Anyone who who has been in Liuzhou over the last year (or who follows my rantings here will have noticed that the city has gone berserk with public transport projects. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) buses, the green bike scheme, the River Buses, Taxi Fare Restructuring etc.
Few of these have actually made any improvement to transport in the city. The BRT service is widely mocked for being no faster than the regular buses and the river bus service has downright angered people for its hopeless service, with delays of up to three hours to get somewhere you could walk to in 15 minutes. Usage of the green bikes has been more successful (after a slow start) but, apart from weekends and holidays, most bikes are unused. So, they plan to introduce thousands more.
Of course, there had to be some reason behind all this and, sure enough, in the last couple of days it became clear. Liuzhou is now officially a pilot city in the “Public Transit City” project. Whoopee!
22 cities including Tianjin, Baoding, Hohhot, Shenyang, Changchun, Shanghai, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Hefei, Fuzhou, Nanchang, Qingdao, Xinxiang, Zhuzhou, Guangzhou, Liuzhou, Haikou, Guiyang, Lanzhou, Xining and Yinchuan were approved.
“During the 12th Five-Year Plan period, the Ministry of Transport of the People’s Republic of China will support the pilot cities for their “Public Transit City” construction. Therefore, quite a few cities have submitted applications to be a pilot city.”
While Liuzhou’s public transport is generally pretty good, it isn’t getting better. It’s getting worse. And the reason is simple. Private transport. With hundreds of new cars coming onto the streets every week, the city’s transport system is choking to death. Traffic jams are the norm, even on the sidewalks. It is chaos out there, but it’s OK.
We just added more more transport so we can get a prize! Like a gold star in a kid’s exercise book.