|A traffic jam in a street of Ha Noi. An uncontrolled rise in personal vehicles has exacerbated traffic in cities. Since 2003, the Government has pushed Ha Noi, HCM City and the Ministry of Transport to limit the number of vehicles on the streets. — Photo baotintuc.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — An uncontrolled rise in personal vehicles has exacerbated traffic in cities. Since 2003, the Government has pushed Ha Noi, HCM City and the Ministry of Transport to limit the number of vehicles on the streets.
However, the public disapproved of most proposed regulations so they were short-lived, according to Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper.
Over the last 13 years, city authorities co-operated with the Ministry of Transport and relevant offices to find a solution. But so far, three terms of municipal mayors and minister have passed, and measures to solve the problem are still incomplete.
The congestion has been chiefly caused by increased migration to big cities, and poor infrastructure and urban planning.
Ha Noi has 5.5 million personal cars and motorbikes, and about 20,000 more vehicles are registered every month.
If all the vehicles were on the road at the same time, they wouldn't be able to move.
According to urban planning experts, the city's transport infrastructure hasn't met vehicle demand. They calculated that in order to serve all vehicles, 20 to 26 per cent of urban land should be used for transport. But currently Ha Noi only uses 7 per cent.
"I have been working for the association for 10 years. I have backed measures to cope with the situation on several occasions," said Nguyen Manh Hung, chairman of the Viet Nam Automobile Transportation Association, in an interview with the paper.
In 2003, due to an increase in personal vehicles, Ha Noi's Department of Transport instituted a limit forcing motorbikes with odd and even registration plate numbers to drive on separate days, according to Hung. Enforcement of the law wasn't effective and it failed.
A year later, the city decided to stop registering new motorbikes in some districts, Hung said. This solution inadvertently created a market for selling and buying vehicle registrations. It ended in 2005 after strong public opposition and warnings from the Ministry of Justice.
HCM City proposed similar measures over the years but none went into effect.
The Ministry of Transport instituted some measures in late 2007. It increased registration fees, collected tolls in some crowded streets during busy hours, banned vehicles from other provinces and forced high school students to use buses and other public vehicles. But the new rules didn't make it off the page.
In 2012, the ministry created yearly travelling fees – VND500,000 to 1 million (US$22-44) for motorbikes and VND20 million to 50 million ($888-2,200) for cars. The regulation shocked the public, but it failed along with the other projects.
Late last year, Ha Noi's newly elected People's Committee Chairman Nguyen Duc Chung proposed a roadmap to limit personal vehicles by 2020. But much of the public doubts this is possible. After more than a decade, ministries and cities still haven't found a way to solve Viet Nam's traffic conundrum. — VNS