|Road users stuck in traffic at HCM City's Lang Cha Ca intersection. Under a new policy proposed by HCM City's Transport Department, a person who wants to buy a new vehicle will have to bid for vehicle ownership.— VNA/VNS Photo Hoang Hai
HCM CITY (VNS) — The HCM City Department of Transport has proposed drastic measures to restrict the use of personal vehicles to cope with worsening traffic congestion in the city.
Early this week, the department submitted a proposal to the city administration on limiting the number of personal vehicles.
Under the proposal, a special consumption tax and other fees imposed on personal vehicles will be increased.
In addition, an environmental fee, which would help tackle air and noise pollution caused by personal vehicles, will be applied, according to the department.
The city will also seek to restrict the number of newly-licensed vehicles by using an annual quota.
Under the new policy, anyone who wants to buy a new vehicle, motorbike or automobile must bid for vehicle ownership.
Once approved for ownership, the owner would also be required to pay an additional fee to use the vehicle.
Residents in HCM City would have to prove that they have access to a parking lot before they can register an automobile for use.
The department also proposed that the city set a life expectancy for vehicle use in large cities like HCM City.
It also suggested that the city set a life expectancy for motorbike use to reduce air pollution.
In addition, certain personal vehicles would only be allowed to enter streets in the city centre during certain hours on certain days, under the proposal.
Many people, especially the poor, are concerned about the proposal if approved, as they would have to pay more fees.
Nguyen Duy Thuc, of Tan Phu District, a delivery-man, said: "If fees are raised further, people like us will suffer a lot."
Bui Xuan Ly, of District 6, a motorbike-taxi driver, said he would have to pay an additional VND200,000 (US$9) in fees, along with other fees that he pays.
"Other new fees will be imposed, and this would be even more of a financial burden on my family," Ly said.
A resident who declined to be named told Viet Nam News that the city should expand the roads instead of raising or creating new fees.
"If the proposal is approved, my family would not be able to make a living in HCM City," he said.
Dr Nguyen Trong Hoa, former head of the HCM City Development Research Institute, said drastic measures for restriction of personal vehicles should have been done years ago.
He said the tariffs and fees imposed on motorbikes and automobiles should vary.
For example, the tariffs and fees imposed on automobiles should be six or 10 times higher than for motorbikes as an automobile takes six times more space and consumes 10 times more fuel than a motorbike, he said.
Hoa also said the city should carefully consider the proposal, especially because of the limited public transport that still exists.
Hoa recommended the city should enhance the public bus system because the first subway lines of the metro will not be available until 2018.
Pham Sanh, a traffic expert, said although HCM City has developed at "an extremely fast pace", worsening traffic congestion has been due to poor management, short-term vision, and overloading on most roads in the city, especially during rush hour.
A lack of parking spaces has also added to the issue, he said.
Sanh recommended that the city improve road infrastructure, develop a sufficient public transport system and better manage urban planning, especially land use.
To do it effectively, the city should conduct research on consumer demand for travel, improve co-operation among agencies, and develop a sufficient master plan for traffic with a clear roadmap.
The number of personal vehicles has increased over the years. In 2010, HCM City had 4.89 million personal vehicles, including 440,000 cars and 4.45 million motorbikes, according to the latest statistics.
In 2013, the city had nearly 6.4 million personal vehicles, of which there were 5.87 million motorbikes, accounting for 91.7 per cent of the total number of vehicles. The rest were automobiles.
By November 2014, the number of personal vehicles had increased to 6.95 million, including 580,000 automobiles and 6.37 million motorbikes.
Around 98 per cent of families in HCM City own at least one motorbike. — VNS