BEIJING, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- Beijing transport authorities set up car free zones and opened new bus routes Friday, marking World Car Free Day.
Vehicles were banned from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday in three zones near Wangfujing Street, Nanluoguxiang Lane and the Beijing Olympic Sports Center, said the Beijing municipal commission of transport in a statement.
Five new bus routes were inaugurated Friday, with six existing routes increasing bus frequency.
September is known as the most congested month as shopping sprees and family visits begin in the run up to the National Day (Oct. 1) and Mid-Autumn Festival (Oct. 4), in addition to school-related traffic.
The traffic index is expected to reach 8.2 on Friday, according to the commission.
The traffic index ranges from 0 to 10, with the number increasing as congestion gets worse.
With more bus lanes, new subway lines and the emergence of shared bikes, traffic congestion in Beijing has eased recently.
According to traffic statistics, the average traffic index in the first half of 2017 was down 3.8 percent from the same period last year.