The government has asked the Transport Ministry to draft a plan restricting the circulation of motorcycles in major cities to curb the country’s worsening traffic problem. The ministry has been ordered to submit the plan to the government by the end of 2012.
In another resolution issued late last month, the government also asked Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to ban motorcycles and cars on certain streets during certain hours. This is not the first time the government has considered banning motorcycles to clear clogged streets in motorbike-dominated Vietnam.
HCMC, with a population of more than seven million, has around 4.7 million motorcycles. Each year, an estimated 300,000-350,000 new motorcycles are licensed in the city. The Transport Ministry forecast that there will be 36 million motorcycles in the country by 2020.
Nguyen Huu Nguyen of the Southern Economic Research Center warned that any immediate ban on motorbikes may cause disorder in the daily lives of HCMC residents. “Sad but true, motorbikes have proven to be the most convenient and effective means of transport for people in the city. “In many residential areas, where people live in small alleys, they have no option but to drive motorbikes because there are no buses that go to their homes.”
By Mai Ha-Phuong Thanh, Thanh Nien News (The story can be found in the September 9th issue of our print edition, Thanh Nien Weekly)
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