Growth in number of new vehicles straining the city's traffic network.
The number of private vehicles in Hanoi is growing strongly according to the Traffic Police Department of Hanoi Police. In the first eight months of 2015 the capital saw 183,000 newly-registered vehicles (over 39,000 motor cars and 143,000 motorcycles), bringing the total number to 5.5 million (nearly 535,000 motor cars and over 4.9 motorcycles). The figure does not include vehicles registered in other provinces that are used to travel around Hanoi. The number of vehicles on the streets puts pressure on the city’s traffic infrastructure, with traffic jams a regular occurrence every day.
There are also 25 construction sites with barriers affecting traffic in the capital. Many are long-term projects, such as the Cat Linh - Ha Dong and Nhon - Hanoi Train Station urban railway lines, and Ring Road 1 (Dong Mac - Kim Nguu) and Ring Road 2 (Buoi - Truong Chinh).
Mr. Nguyen Van Thach, Head of the Traffic Safety Department at the Ministry of Transport, said that Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are dealing with strong growth in the number of private vehicles while infrastructure is unable to keep up. He expects Hanoi’s traffic situation to not improve until its urban railway lines are completed in 2018. By that time the city should have a plan in place to restrict the growth in private vehicle numbers and encourage people to use public transport. “In the near future Hanoi should limit the number of private cars on its streets by increasing taxes and registration fees, as Ho Chi Minh City has proposed.” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Tran Van Thanh, Vice President of the Vietnam Automobile Transportation Association, said the situation reflects poor management by Hanoi authorities. For example, the city lacks sufficient parking stations, so many streets are crammed with parked motor cars, which limit access and creates traffic jams. He believes that if the State wants to reduce the use of private vehicles there must be quality public transport available. “Fewer people would use private vehicles if the public transport system was convenient,” he said. “The government needs to oversee urban management, not blame the problems on the strong growth of private transport.”
In the first eight months of 2015 there were nearly 210,000 new motor cars and over 2.1 million new motorcycles registered nationwide, bringing the total to 2.6 million and 43.4 million, respectively.
Photos: Hoang Phong