One person, one car: Hanoi considers new traffic plan

By Phuong Son   January 20, 2017 | 11:00 pm PT
One person, one car: Hanoi considers new traffic plan
Hanoi is considering limiting individuals to one car and one license plate to to clear clogged streets. Photo by Reuters/Kham
The latest idea to resolve traffic problems in the capital.

Hanoi is considering limiting individuals to one car and one license plate to ease pressure on its roads due to the continuing rise of newly-registered vehicles.

Colonel Dao Vinh Thang, the chief of the Hanoi traffic police force, made the proposal at a meeting on Friday, urging municipal leaders to consider the new regulation.“If people want to get a new vehicle, they must use the old license plate,” he added.

16,000 new motorbikes and 500 new cars are registered in the city every month, official figures show. Five years ago, Hanoi’s traffic infrastructure could support 5 million vehicles, but now it has to cope with two or three times that amount, which authorities are really struggling to control, Thang said.

Major General Tran The Quan from the Ministry of Public Security shared the same view, saying this type of restriction on vehicle ownership has been applied in other countries, and that transferring license plates from old cars to new vehicles could help lower registration costs.

However, Quan said that since Vietnam’s current law doesn’t impose any limit on the number of vehicles citizens are allowed to own, the regulation would require a lot of amendments to existing decrees and government circulars.

But the proposal has raised some eyebrows.

Attorney Pham Thanh Binh, director of Bao Ngoc Law Company, warned that restricting vehicle ownership would risk violating the Constitution.

“Vietnam’s Constitution says that all citizens have the right to buy or sell any assets that are not prohibited by the state,” said Binh.

The attorney, however, supports the idea that each person should only be allowed one license plate which they can use for life.

Statistics show that Hanoi has more than 5.5 million personal vehicles (nearly 500,000 cars and more than five million motorcycles). The numbers are expected to increase to more than 7.3 million motorbikes and 1.3 million cars by 2025.

Hanoi recently launched a competition seeking solutions from the public to solve its serious congestion problems, with a first prize of $200,000.

The capital has been trying to ease traffic by constructing more highways and overpasses and launching the city's first bus rapid transit route, in addition to more normal buses. To ease congestion, the city previously suggested banning motorbikes from inner-city streets over the next four years. However, experts said the proposal was unfeasible due to undeveloped and insufficient public transport.

Last September, the city’s top leader Hoang Trung Hai also put forward another plan to make vehicles park only on one side of the road, depending on whether it's an odd or even day. To date, no additional details of the plan have been unveiled.

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> Japanese firms offer technology and training to reduce traffic accidents in Vietnam

> Hanoi offers $200,000 prize to solve worsening traffic jams

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