Beijing launches car quota to counter gridlock

BEIJING — For thousands of hopeful commuters in China's capital, 2011 started with a click not a bang.
Residents hoping to snap up Beijing car license plate numbers under the debut of a quota system aimed at easing paralyzing traffic logged onto a website that launched in the first moments of the new year. Within 10 minutes, 6,000 people had successfully claimed a new plate number, the Beijing Daily newspaper reported.
The new system aims to reduce the number of cars in the notoriously gridlocked capital. The city will only allow 240,000 new car registrations in 2011 — two-thirds less than last year — and is parceling them out via the monthly online lottery.