Vũ Anh Tuấn
Dr Vũ Anh Tuấn, Director of the Transport Research Centre, under the Việt Đức University, spoke to Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper about encouraging the use of public transport
What do you think of the proposal to tighten management of car parks to encourage people to use public transport?
I don’t think the proposal should be interpreted as a measure to limit people’s personal travel. The proposal’s key objective is to encourage people to use public transport to help urban development be sustainable.
No one can deny that private cars are more convenient than using public transport. In my opinion, the best way to persuade people to give up using their own cars in Hà Nội is to improve the public transport system and at the same time use a financial mechanism to discourage car owners driving their cars inside the city.
This is one way to reduce the social cost of private cars. The social cost includes the direct cost to buy the car and expenses incurred while driving it. In addition, private cars running on the roads have increased traffic congestion and added to air pollution.
Do you think introducing the car park tool will encourage car owners to switch to public transport?
In other countries, the policy on car park management has been in place for many years, including Japan, Germany, Singapore, Malaysia and others. High parking fees, particularly in the city centre are a good tool to encourage people to use public transport. In those countries, parking tickets vary depending on peak hours and parking duration. This parking system has proven effective.
However, I have to admit that such a policy has not been successful in all countries. In some countries, people opposed the increase in the car parking fees, including real estate developers and car manufacturers.
For Hà Nội, I suggest that city authorities launch a communication campaign on the benefits of imposing such a parking fee mechanism to win public support.
Many streets around Hà Nội’s old quarter have become pedestrian streets. Some people have complained about a lack of parking near these streets. How do you respond to such a complaint?
I agree that it is very important to have a good transport system, including parking lots for people to be able to walk on pedestrian streets.
If law and order in the road and on the pavements is maintained, Hà Nội will become more attractive to people, particularly visitors from near and far. That’s a good way to increase revenue for traders living along the pedestrian streets.
In addition, we need to arrange convenient parking places and public transport for people to travel to the pedestrian streets.
I’m confident that when we have a good public urban transport system in place, it will help reduce the use of private transport vehicles and keep the air in the city cleaner.— VNS