DEC 7, 2001
Traffic crisis looms in Vietnam's big cities
Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi could soon have the worst traffic problems among
HANOI - Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi look set to overtake Bangkok and Manila
as the most traffic- congested Asean cities, Vietnamese authorities have
Analysts estimate that the two Vietnamese cities will need up to 44.6
trillion dong (S$5.4 billion) over the next four years to tackle their
Traffic authorities have identified 55 hot spots and eight routes in Hanoi
that regularly experience congestion, while Ho Chi Minh City has 92 hot
spots and 21 problem routes.
These traffic snarls cost 9.7 billion dong (S$1.2 million) per day in the
two cities alone, not including the sound and air pollution unleashed on the
environment and the man-hours wasted in traffic jams.
Authorities fear that without a solution, the two cities will soon have the
worst traffic among Asean metro areas, displacing Bangkok and Manila.
Analysts estimate that Hanoi will need 17 trillion dong and Ho Chi Minh City
27.6 trillion dong over the next four years to improve traffic.
Transport authorities plan to build better infrastructure, divide more roads
and create more bus routes to increase the use of public transport.
There will be 45 bus routes in Hanoi and 100 routes in Ho Chi Minh City,
with about 500 and 3,000 buses operating respectively.
One of the most pressing tasks facing transport officials is how to reduce
the number of motorcycles in the big cities.
Hanoi now has an estimated 850,000 motorbikes, while Ho Chi Minh City has
about 2 million.
The Ministry of Transport hopes to introduce more measures to reduce the use
of motorcycles and other private means of transport, such as increasing
registration fees from the current 2 per cent of motorcycle value to 10 per
Some officials believe that fees collected from newly registered motorbikes,
estimated at 480 billion dong in the two cities each year, should be used to
develop public transport.
But a similar initiative introduced by the Ministry of Transport two years
ago, under which each motorbike owner would contribute 200,000 dong a year
in fees, was criticised so heavily that it was never implemented.
Others, such as Sgt-Major Than Anh Tuan of Ho Chi Minh City Road Traffic
Police, have a more drastic solution: 'It is time to stop importing
motorbikes.' --Viet Nam News/Asia News Network
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