Hanoi transport department unveils plan to scrap motorbikes in a decade

By Vo Hai   March 9, 2019 | 09:13 pm PT
Hanoi transport department unveils plan to scrap motorbikes in a decade
A traffic jam in Hanoi on February 1, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh
Hanoi plans to ban motorbikes by 2030 to combat its traffic and pollution woes.

The city Department of Transport is considering two options to reduce private vehicles on the roads, one of which is to limit and then gradually prohibit motorbikes in the downtown area by 2030.

"The sooner Hanoi can ban motorbikes, the better," Vu Van Vien, the department’s director, said at a meeting Saturday with Hoang Trung Hai, the city Party chief.

Vien said his department is working with the transport ministry’s Transport Development and Strategy Institute to develop the plan, which would also include a halt to licensing of new motorbikes.

The other option they are considering is to collect fees for vehicles entering the inner city.

The two plans will be submitted to the people’s committee and people’s council – the administration and legislature of the city -- later this year before they are sent to the government and National Assembly.

Nguyen Trong Dong, director of the city environment department, said at the meeting that he concurs with the plan to limit and then ban motorbikes since there are emission standards for cars but not motorbikes.

Monitoring of air quality in the last three years showed it was often very poor during periods when traffic density was high, he said.

City Party chief Hai endorsed the two plans, saying the number of vehicles in the city keeps rising.

He said six million cars and motorbikes are registered in the city, another two million have been brought from other provinces and the police and defense have another million.

To put it in context, the capital’s population is 7.7 million.

At a meeting in 2017 the city council had passed a resolution on traffic, which included banning motorbikes and boosting public transport by 2030.

The Real-time Air Quality Index on aqicn.org in January 29 this year found pollution in the capital to be at an "unhealthy" level.

The index, measured by the U.S. embassy, hit 154, a level that requires old people and those with heart and respiratory problems to stay indoors.

Hoang Duong Tung, a senior environment official, told the media that the heavy traffic in the capital exacerbated the pollution.

Earlier, HCMC People's Committee Vice Chairman Tran Vinh Tuyen said the city would "not ban motorbikes because they're a means for people to commute and to work."

According to Tuyen, the city is currently focusing on developing the metro, bus rapid transit, river bus, and railway besides public bicycle services.

Once they offer sufficient convenience, the public would naturally move away from motorbikes and switch to using them instead, he said.

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