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Hue looks to tap sidewalk vending for economic boost

By Vo Thanh   April 11, 2021 | 06:37 pm PT
Hue authorities are considering sidewalk vending at night towards giving the local economy an added boost.
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The central town is developing a pilot plan to allow street vendors to open stalls on the sidewalks of some roads.
Although the plan has not been approved by provincial authorities yet, the area around Chuong Duong Street next to the iconic Truong Tien Bridge is full of street vendors who open for business at 7 p.m. Most of the vendors are people from different localities who’ve just moved into the town. In order to bring bags of grilled corn, chicken feet and tea to this area, people have to push their carts for 3-4 kilometers.

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Na, the owner of a sweet soup stall, pushes her food cart from her house in Phu Hau Ward to Chuong Duong street every day. She said selling on the sidewalk might not be legal, but she has to make a living. There have been many days that she had to clean up in haste and flee after seeing the police show up to clear up the sidewalks.
"If there is a policy to allow the use of sidewalks by street vendors for some fees, I would be very happy to sign up for it. Now I have to sell while being afraid of getting caught," Na said.

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After 9 p.m., Na starts pushing her cart to a new location on Hoang Hoa Tham Street in Phu Nhuan Ward. She said she has selected a wide road where lots of tourists and people come to eat late at night. Most street vendors on the sidewalk use carts with wheels for easy mobility.

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The local police have put up a sign on the sidewalks of Hoang Hoa Tham Street, forbidding street vendors, but the latter continue to take risks, driven by the need to earn a living.
Official figures compiled by Hue show that the area has more than 1,700 households who regularly do business on sidewalks. They keep returning despite the police carrying out many sidewalk clearance programs.

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At 10 p.m., the sidewalks on Hoang Hoa Tham street bustle with mini eateries and coffee shops. Many young people leave their motorbikes in front of the provincial post office and walk around 100 meters to enjoy a variety of dishes served by street vendors including boiled snails, potatoes, corn, fish and grilled squid.

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Many people from other localities also enjoy street food at night.

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After the police leave, Truong Thi Hoa, 43, carries her tofu stall back to the Nguyen Dinh Chieu pedestrian street, offering the dish to tourists walking around at night. She seeks to augment the slim earnings of her husband as a construction worker in order to educate their three children.
"I just hope to have a stable place on the sidewalk. I am tired of what is happening now," Hoa said.

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The Hue Department of Economics is evaluating a pilot plan to allow street vendors to open on streets in Phu Hoi, Vinh Ninh, Vy Da, Phu Nhuan and Phu Hoa wards. Street vendor residents of the wards will be given priority over those from other localities to register their sidewalk businesses.
Dong Sy Toan, head of the department, said that allowing street vendors on some sidewalks will support people in overcoming challenging times posed by the pandemic and a potential model for boosting the night economy. Depending on the characteristics of each ward, households would pay a prescribed fee to use the sidewalk and sell suitable products, within a fixed time frame.

 
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