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HCMC seeks complete ban on motorcycles by 2030
The Saigon Times Daily
Sunday,  Aug 26, 2018,09:13 (GMT+7)

HCMC seeks complete ban on motorcycles by 2030

The Saigon Times Daily

Drivers are stuck in a heavy traffic jam in HCMC. The city seeks complete ban on motorcycles by 2030 – PHOTO: VNA

HCMC – The HCMC Department of Transport has proposed that the municipal government gradually reduce the number of scooters and motorbikes traveling on city streets, and eventually ban them from four downtown districts by 2030.

On behalf of the local watchdog, the Transport Development and Strategy Institute under the Transport Ministry developed a plan to improve public transport and curb motor vehicles, in a bid to ease traffic congestion in the city.

According to the plan, the ban on scooters and motorbikes in the city center is to be divided into three stages. Afterwards, the local government might possibly enact an outright ban on such bikes in 2030.

Until 2020, the city will prohibit bikes from travelling on Truong Son Street of Tan Binh District and Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street of District 1 at peak times. Meanwhile, a similar move will apply to a Pasteur Street section and a Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street section from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Between 2021 and 2025, the city will restrict bikes travelling to District 1, within Vo Van Kiet, Dinh Tien Hoang, Dien Bien Phu, Hai Ba Trung, Nguyen Thi Minh Khai and Nguyen Van Cu streets.

The city will then impose a complete ban on the two-wheeled vehicles in the city center, including district 1, 3, 5 and 10, within Vo Van Kiet, Chau Van Liem, Hong Bang, Ly Thuong Kiet, Bac Hai, Cach Mang Thang Tam, Vo Thi Sau, Dinh Tien Hoang and Ton Duc Thang streets.

The institute forecasts that the public bus transport system will play a key role from 2020 to 2030, until the mass transit system is available.

By 2020, the bus system should meet some 8.9-12.2% of the travel demand among city dwellers, with 25-30% using buses in the central business district area.

In a bid to meet this target, the city should develop an additional 55 to 122 bus routes, thereby bringing the total number to 192-255 bus routes, which would use 4,200-4,800 vehicles.

At the same time, according to the plan, the city should heavily invest in other forms of public transport, including rapid transit buses, monorails and bicycles.

The plan also suggests curbing the parking of cars in the downtown area, developing a parking rate framework by hour and by region, as well as limiting parking licenses on roads and pavements, especially those in the city center.

Further, the city should hike registration fees for cars of up to nine seats, in line with a specific roadmap, and set up a road pricing scheme for cars to the downtown area at peak times in order to collect the “traffic congestion” fee.

If the scheme is approved, information technology should be employed to collect such fees automatically – so drivers do not need to stop to pay fees, with proceeds used to develop the urban transport system.

However, Bui Xuan Cuong, director of the HCMC Transport Department, was quoted by Dan Tri Online newspaper as saying that the city is unlikely to ban scooters and motorbikes until 2030.

Cuong said the local government will take various measures of the plan into account, and implement them, in a bid to curb the use of such vehicles, along with other personal vehicles.

“Only if sufficient means of public transport for local residents to travel is proven, would the municipal government then consider banning bikes,” he stressed.

In a report in Lao Dong newspaper, many industry insiders voiced their support for the plan, assuming the public bus system can meet the demand for travel.

Associate Professor Pham Xuan Mai told the newspaper that the city would need some 21,000 small and large buses by then to serve the travel needs of residents throughout the city. Small buses would carry passengers to routes where large buses operate, as the city has a dense network of narrow alleys.

He added that vans weighing 500 kilograms should be allowed to travel in the downtown areas all day and night, thereby enabling local residents to earn their livings.

Economist and transport expert Luong Hoai Nam commented that the municipal government should regard buses as a key and strategic means of transport until 2030, in order to come up with investment and development policies.

He noted that a modern, safe and inexpensive public transport system should be available to curb the number of the bikes effectively. At the same time, it is necessary to have a specific roadmap and strategy for bus development, and study the change in school and working hours.

In July 2017, the Hanoi City government agreed to ban motorbikes and scooters by 2030 to ease congestion and air pollution. It cited an “alarming” increase in the number of two-wheeled vehicles, resulting in traffic reaching nearly four times the capacity of roads in crowded areas.

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