Saigon to restrict but not ban motorbikes by 2030

By Huu Nguyen   July 14, 2017 | 07:28 pm PT
The city would only consider a motorbike ban once its public transport is capable of meeting travel demand.

Following Hanoi and Da Nang, Saigon has also come up with a roadmap to limit private vehicles in order to ease traffic congestion.

The proposal, submitted to the transport department on Friday, would have the city focus on developing public transport and gradually restricting private vehicles from downtown streets and areas prone to congestion by 2030.

Under the first phase from now until 2020, Saigon would increase parking fees, restrict parking for motorbikes and impose a toll on vehicles entering the city center. The city would also develop its bus network and encourage the use of buses over private vehicles, while continuing to expand pedestrian zones.

After 2020, the city would develop a metro system and a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, while limiting the number of newly-licensed private vehicles. The roadmap would also see the city restrict and eventually ban motorbikes from downtown streets and areas prone to congestion by 2030.


The city would try to develop its public transport to meet the people's travel demand before considering banning motorbikes to ease congestion. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Nguyen.

However, Bui Xuan Cuong, director of the Department of Transport affirmed the city would not ban motorbikes by 2030 and the proposed roadmap would only be used as a guideline.

“Only when it's proven that the city's public transport is capable of meeting people's travel demand will we consider banning motorbikes,” Cuong said.

But transport expert Luong Hoai Nam said the plan to develop the city's bus network, and hence the entire proposal, would fail unless the city goes through with the 2030 motorbike ban.

According to Nam, unless the city bans motorbikes, most people will not buy bus tickets, making the bus network unable to grow as it wouldn't be profitable enough to attract investors. Therefore the city's public network would never be able to meet travel demand.

Tran Anh Tuan, another expert, suggested adding a framework for assessing private vehicles' environmental  impact. 

Earlier this month, Hanoi approved a proposal to ban motorbikes from the city center from 2030 to reduce traffic congestion, despite strong opposition from experts and the public.

The capital city will also impose restrictions on cars, but not a blanket ban.

Da Nang also approved a plan last Friday which would see the city restrict private vehicles from certain streets in downtown areas where public transport can handle local travel demand.

The central city would limit the number of newly-licensed vehicles each year, and hopes to stop issuing licenses to new motorbikes altogether by 2028.

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