HCMC will not ban motorbikes, promises leader

By Hoang Thuy   March 7, 2019 | 02:00 am PT
HCMC will not ban motorbikes, promises leader
Motorbike drivers get stuck in traffic jam on Ly Thai To Street of District 10, Ho Chi Minh City, on January 21, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa
Motorbikes would only be restricted and not banned when public transport is developed, the Ho Chi Minh City administration has assured.

Speaking to correspondents on Wednesday, 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.

"Only when we reach a stage in which the people feel that the public transport system is sufficiently convenient will the authorities restrict motorbikes."

He said currently the city only encourages the use of public transport over motorbikes.

Restricting motorbikes in the city is necessary since "there is no country where traffic is smooth with lots of motorbikes."

Tuyen said the city is planning its public transport in such a way that everyone could find a station within 500 meters (550 yards) of their doorstep.

The public transport system would be developed alongside retail services so that an underground metro station would have a mall for commuters to shop conveniently, he said.

"We are re-planning the city's underground space to implement this option. We're striving to complete the first metro line by October 2020 to increase the rate of people using public transport to at least 15 percent from just 9.7 percent now."

HCMC, the country's largest metropolis, has around 7.3 million motorbikes for its more than 8.4 million citizens, besides more than one million bikes brought by migrants, according to its Department of Transport.

Last month the department presented a proposal to increase use of public transport and restrict private vehicles on city streets.

The proposal, drafted by the Ministry of Transport's Transport Development and Strategy Institute, asks the city to restrict and eventually ban motorbikes from a number of downtown areas like Districts 1, 3, 5, and 10 and the Phu My Hung and Thu Thiem urban areas from 2025.

Legal and transportation experts have railed against the ban, calling it "hasty" and "impossible," given the current state of public transport. The city's first metro line project, started in 2012, has been delayed multiple times due to lack of funds.

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