Last week, Việt Nam News asked readers about plans to levy a toll of VNĐ40,000-50,000 (US$1.7-2.2) from cars entering major cities in a move to ease traffic congestion. Here are some of the comments.
Hà Thị Thủy, Vietnamese, HCM City
I totally disagree with the proposed fee collection. I own a private car. Although I do not usually drive out of the city centre to far away rural areas, I still think the fee collection is impossible.
First, taxi drivers will refuse to take passengers out of the centre of the city if they have to pay a fee.
Secondly, cars are not the only culprit of traffic jams. How about motorbikes, cyclos, even buses? I don’t see any advantage of public transport in Việt Nam despite local authorities’ efforts to improve their quality. So is it more possible if we also collect fees of motorbikes? I heard it mentioned somewhere, but it came under fire and the idea was dropped.
Thirdly, why don’t powerful leaders brainstorm about upgrading facilities, building more car parking areas rather than making life difficult for drivers?
Đạt Trần, Vietnamese, Hà Nội
Road tools are only a temporary solution to the heated debate because the fee for each entrance to HCM City centre is quite high.
What we need is a long-term vision in limiting the growing number of residents in HCM City or Hà Nội. People from other provinces should have to go back to their home villages once they complete their business in the city. As traffic congestion seems to be a universal issue across all big metropolises, there is no really effective policy. So sad!
Nara Kwan, Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
Traffic jams are common in Thailand, especially in big cities like Bangkok. We still struggle to find the way to reduce the congestion. I don’t know whether car fee collection is applied in my country, but is it really effective? I think the situation in Thailand is the same as in Việt Nam. So we can share solutions. We can learn the lesson from our neighboring country, Singapore. They increased car prices to limit the number of car buyers and encourage citizens to choose public transport.
If I were in Việt Nam and had to pay such a fee for entering the city each time, I would probably not leave the city very often to go sightseeing or camping on the weekend.
Andrew Burden, Canadian, Hà Nội
Obviously there is a traffic problem worldwide. There are solutions.
Change the work schedule to earlier/later and alternating weekends. Encourage private buses like the ones run by Apple and Google in San Francisco. Take a survey and actually count downtown cars.
Ask people where they are going, where did they start from and why there is only one person in their car. Why not actually ban private cars from downtown? That’s what buses, bicycles, walking and taxis are for!
It’s not rocket science. And if a Vietnamese motorbike can fit two adults, two kids, a dog and a bird in a cage, then each car should have more passengers. More passengers mean fewer cars. Problem solved.— VNS