5 Aug 2008

Beijing traffic snarl-ups only threaten to get worse

11:39 am on 5 August 2008

Pollution may be pushed to the background as a secondary concern for Beijing's officials as traffic snarls, bottlenecks and scarce taxis threaten to become the next potential flashpoint at the Olympics.

Although billions have been spent on new subway lines to deliver spectators to the Olympic Green - and nearly half of Beijing's 3.3 million cars have been removed from the roads - transport problems are already causing tempers to flare.

Even before the bulk of the expected half million foreigners converge on the main sports venues, traffic is frequently jamming up near the entrance to the Olympic village.

There have also been long waits for taxis and it might be worse just when demand is highest, around the opening ceremony. Like other Beijingers many drivers say they plan to take a few hours to watch it on TV.