China…Leading the Planet in the New RideSharing Economy?

by | Traveling

(From Yixin X. , Spedsta Member in Shanghai, China)

The average lifetime of a traffic policeman in Beijing is 41 years. Although this fact is not so surprising considering the air pollution problems in China, some districts in China have taken pollution so seriously that they know advertise their regions as PM 2.5 free! PM 2.5 is an acronym for “Particulate Matter” and is a measure of air pollution. More specifically it refers to tiny particles or droplets in the air that are two and half microns or less in width. The widths of the larger particles in the PM2.5 size range would be about thirty times smaller than that of a human hair. The smaller particles are so small that several thousand of them could fit on the period at the end of this sentence. Long term exposure to these particles can results in heart disease and breathing problems.

One of the main sources of PM 2.5 pollution is from vehicles. In 1999 there were 14 million cars in China, in 2013 there are over 120 million passenger cars on the road today and an estimated growth of 200 million cars by 2020.  Already, China has the world’s largest population of vehicles.

But will air pollution and the fact that you cannot see the sun for most days of the year in Beijing have an effect on the driving habits of the modern Chinese person and encourage RideSharing?  There may be some hope but not because of pollution it turns out.

A recent visitor from Shanghai pointed out that the real motivations for RideSharing are firmly rooted in economics.  While the USA has a relatively low cost around licensing of vehicles, the cost of a license plate can easily be half the cost of the car in Shanghai.  With such high costs she had described how her colleagues RideShare in a variety of ways from home to work and even from subway station to work.  From short routes to long rides, china seems to be a leading country in adopting RideSharing.  The side effect though, can be a greener Shanghai!


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