China Provides Traffic Jam-Busting Service

With more people getting behind the wheel every day, traffic jams in China are a major headache in most cities. The gridlock has, however, become an opportunity for some entrepreneurs, who are offering an escape route — for a price. Drivers who get stuck in traffic in some cities can now get on their cell phones and call for a substitute to take their cars to their destinations while the frustrated drivers are whisked away on the back of a motorcycle. Drivers can be bailed out for $60, which might seem steep — unless you’re going to be late for a very important meeting. While the idea has taken off in some cities, others haven’t jumped on the bandwagon because drivers have their reservations about trusting a stranger to look after their vehicles. The manager of a Beijing car service said there was demand for traffic jam rescues in Beijing, but rules barring motorcycles from freeways made it impossible to offer the service there. China's traffic made international headlines in 2010 when a monster traffic jam that lasted weeks stretched for more than 60 miles on a highway leading to China's capital. Beijing is tied with Mexico City for the worst traffic jams in the world. To help cope, officials said last month they would allow only 240,000 passenger cars to be registered in Beijing this year in a license plate lottery system — about a third of the number of new cars registered last year.