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Govt takes credit for plate price plunge

2013-05-27 11:03 Global Times     Web Editor: Sun Tian comment

The municipal government's recent measures to curb the price of registering license plates have caused the average bid price at the city's monthly vehicle plate auction to fall for the second straight month, a transportation official said Sunday on a local radio program.

At this month's auction Saturday, the average bid price fell to 80,803 yuan ($13,180), down from 84,100 yuan in April, said Sun Jianping, director of the Shanghai Municipal Transport and Port Authority.

Before the government implemented a series of measures in April to keep registration prices in check, they had only fallen twice over the preceding 15 months. In June, the average bid price fell by 6,140 yuan from the previous month to 58,227 yuan. In October, the minimum bid price decreased by 500 yuan.

Under the new measures that took effect on April 9, only new car owners are allowed to participate in the monthly auctions, according to a report in the Wenhui Daily. They also set a ceiling on bid prices so they can't exceed a weighted average of the bid prices from the previous three auctions.

During the first month the measures took effect, the average bid price fell 7,797 yuan to 84,100 yuan.

The drop in bid prices shows that the measures have been effective, Sun said during an interview on Shanghai People's Radio Station.

The government announced three other measures in late March to curb prices after the average bid price at the March auction rose to an all-time high of 91,898 yuan, up 8,327 yuan from the previous month.

The regulations stipulated that car owners who want to transfer ownership of their plates couldn't charge more than the average bid price at the most recent plate auction. Other measures included increasing the number of plates up for bid each month and prohibiting car owners from transferring ownership of their license plates for three years.

The municipal transportation authority will implement more measures in the second half of the year, such as cracking down on speculators, whom the authority blames for skyrocketing prices, Sun said.

Other cities in China have turned to other means besides auctions.

In Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, the transportation authority has adopted a lottery system to award half of the city's license plates.

Shanghai would do well to try a similar system, said Li Keping, a professor of traffic engineering at Tongji University.

Li suggested a series of measures designed to reduce the number of cars on the road, such as higher parking fees, better taxi service and further integration between the city's subway system and other forms of public transportation.

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