|A traffic jam on a section of Phạm Hùng Street in Hà Nội. — Photo news.zing.vn|
HÀ NỘI – Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc yesterday called a meeting with Hà Nội authorities, urging them to work out immediate solutions to address the worsening traffic jams in recent days.
Vehicle users in Hà Nội are irritated by the severe traffic jams in the days ahead of Tết (Lunar New Year), which sometimes delay them for hours when taking their children to school, Phúc said.
“And if the authorities are all aware of the situation without making any move to address it, they show no responsibility to the people,” he told the meeting attended by Hà Nội People’s Committee Chairman, Nguyễn Đức Chung.
The days ahead of Tết always see a steep rise of traffic due to higher demand for goods deliveries, while residents are busy shopping for the most important holiday of the year or paying visits to their friends and business partners.
Shortcomings in the development policies of the capital city have increased the number of congestion hotspots in Hà Nội instead of decreasing them, Phúc said.
A report of the capital shows that Hà Nội managed to eliminate 20 out of 44 traffic hotspots in 2016. However, it also recorded the reappearance of four areas prone to traffic deadlock and another 13 new ones. The total number of traffic hotspots in Hà Nội stands at 41.
Municipal authorities have to find a solution for the increasingly congested city, Phúc said. Measures to restrict the use of personal vehicles were essential while the city has to further develop underground and elevated public transportation to ease pressure on the current road system.
Deputy Prime Minister Trịnh Đình Dũng warned in the meeting that the city should brace for worsening traffic congestion in the next five years if no effective policies to curb the rising number of personal vehicles, especially cars, are put in place.
Dũng asked the city to continue moving manufacturers out of the urban area, but not to replace them with high-rises.
Hà Nội should also tighten its management of the infrastructure system, the PM said, given that a boom in apartment towers of late resulted in far greater traffic density in some areas where the road network failed to catch up with the population increase.
“No building high-rises if no traffic plans are in place,” he said.
HCM City pledges smooth Tết traffic
Meanwhile, in HCM City, Party Secretary Đinh La Thăng has called on passenger transport operators to make sure there are enough human resources and vehicles during Tết (Lunar New Year).
The city’s two main bus stations should also ensure passengers’ safety, he told a meeting held on January 15, 2017.
The Western and Eastern Coach Stations should inspect all buses carefully, not allow them to transport flammable and explosive goods, control fares and have replacement vehicles in case of need, he said.
Trần Quốc Toản, general director of the Sài Gòn Transportation Mechanical Corporation (SAMCO), said the two coach stations would handle more than 130,000 passengers a day during the peak days of the New Year.
The coach stations and transport companies are willing to serve passengers at all hours, he said.
Nguyễn Ngọc Thừa, director of the Eastern Coach Station, said the peak time would be from 10 days before Tết to 10 days after.
His station has 3,126 registered vehicles this year, 2 per cent down from last Tết, he said.
But it has mobilised 70 other vehicles avoid overloading during peak days, he said.
It has urged authorities to stop unlicensed buses from operating and using illegal stops, he said.
Traffic infrastructure was damaged by flood along routes to the central region and needs to be fixed quickly to ensure smooth flow of traffic, he said.
Nguyễn Văn Thành, head of the Sài Gòn Railway Station, said everything is in readiness to provide the best services to passengers during Tết.
Online ticket sales have been smooth and reduced crowds in stations, he said.
Đặng Tuấn Tú, director of Tân Sân Nhất International Airport, said airlines plan to operate a total of 1,065 flights during the four weeks during Tết.
During peak days the airport would handle 807 flights a day, 11 per cent higher than normal, he said.
New bus route
Also on Jan 15, 2017, the Southern Airport Transportation Joint Stock Company (SATSCO) launched route No.159 with high-quality buses between the Eastern Coach Station and An Sương Coach Station and passing through the airport.
Buses on the 17.5km route operate every 25-30 minutes.
Each bus has a capacity of 60, meets Euro 3 emission standards and has free Wi-Fi on board. The fares are slightly higher than normal.
Nguyễn Duy Hưng, director of SATSCO, said it is the only bus route to connect the airport with two major coach stations and would help reduce the number of private vehicles arriving in the airport. — VNS