Ha Noi to allow only city-licensed taxis

Update: August, 14/2014 - 08:07
Taxis occupy a large area to pick up passengers at Ha Noi's My Dinh Bus Station. Taxis from neighbouring provinces will be banned in the city to reduce traffic chaos and unhealthy competition among drivers. – VNA/VNS Photo Minh Quyet

HA NOI (VNS) — In a move to reduce traffic chaos and unhealthy competition among taxi drivers, vehicles licensed outside the capital will be banned from operating in the city, the municipal People's Committee has said.

At a conference on traffic safety on Tuesday, vice-chairman of the committee, Nguyen Quoc Hung, said the municipal Transport Department would grant new badges to city taxis on Friday.

The taxis will be required to display the badge, which will be of different design to vehicles licensed outside the city.

Taxis without the city badge will not be allowed to operate in the city, Hung said, adding that traffic inspectors and local police would keep a close watch on the situation.

Figures from the city's Transport Department show that more than 17,000 taxis are licensed in the city. About 2,000 others from the neighbouring provinces of Ha Nam, Bac Ninh, Vinh Phuc and Hung Yen are also operating in the capital, adding to traffic congestion and chaos.

Ha Noi stopped granting new licences to taxis two years ago.

Hung said officials from the department would work with taxi firms in the city to install new badge. The work would be completed by next month.

Le Thanh Kinh, head of Le Nguyen legal firm, said that the ban on taxis from outside the city would restrict the right to trade.

He said the Ministry of Transport's Circular 18 on taxis, which took effect last August, did not ban taxi enterprises from a certain city or province from operating in another city or province.

Nguyen Van Thanh, chairman of the Vietnam Automobile Transportation Association, said tight control over taxis in big cities was necessary, but added that the new ban was unreasonable.

"If the ban takes effect, a taxi carrying passengers from a neighbouring province to a certain address in Ha Noi might have to let their passengers off on the outskirts of the city," he said.

He said the most important role for authorities was to improve the traffic infrastructure to help taxis operate in a more orderly fashion.

"Parking lots for taxis can solve the problem," he said. "In foreign countries, there are always parking lots for idle taxis near residential areas. Taxis will not move around when they have no passengers."

Nguyen Minh Thanh, a resident of Hoang Hoa Tham Street, said his relative, who lived in northern Ninh Binh Province, about 93 kilometres away from Ha Noi, usually caught a two-way taxi to save money.

"She has to go to hospital for health treatment every month. Thus, getting a two-way taxi is really economical because of the policy of taxi firms to discount up to 80 per cent of the cost for the return journey. She only pays VND250,000 (US$11.70) instead of VND800,000 ($37.70)," he said.

"But, if the ban takes effect, she might have to take a passenger bus to save money," Thanh said. — VNS