Hanoi has just announced its plan to curb the number of motorbikes and then move on to the ban on motorbike usage in downtown districts of the capital city by 2030.
The Hanoi People’s Committee deems it necessary to take action to relieve serious road congestion and combat pollution caused by smoke from a massive quantity of vehicles.
Presently, the number of motorbikes in Hanoi is 5.2 million, and this figure for cars is 485,000. Supposing only 60% of them run on roads simultaneously, the vast volume of traffic would still be 1.34 times the road’s capacity, and up to 3.72 times in the most crowded areas.
According to Vu Van Vien, Director of Hanoi Department of Transport, the number of vehicles increases by about 10% per year, while the growth rate of road infrastructure is only 3-4%, and the area allocated for transport less than 1%. He, therefore, reaffirmed that a ban on motorcycles was absolutely essential.
A survey recently conducted by the Hanoi Police Department reveals that more than 90% of those questioned were in favor of the plan. However, there are also controversies on social networks over this ban. Many netizens question its feasibility, since the majority of city population commutes to work by motorbike on a daily basis.
To cope with traffic congestion and pollution, a motorbike curb is not the only solution proposed by the People’s Committee. Its plans also include other options including to set quotas for taxi, Uber and Grab, restrict hours and even days to drive cars on certain streets, adjust office and school hours to reduce the density during rush hours and etc..
However, experts told that the success of such a motorbike ban depends mostly on the development of public transports as alternatives. Tran Thi Kim Dang, a professor of University of Transport and Communications, complained that the existing bus stops are located too far away from residential areas. Sharing the viewpoint, Dr. Luong Hoai Nam, an expert in transportation, also emphasized the importance of improving the bus system as the major alternative for motorbikes and took examples of cities in both Asia and Europe to prove his point.
Indeed, Hanoi is not the only city in the world that ever plans or already enforce a ban on motorbikes. According to Chinese media, more than 30 cities in the mainland, including Beijing and Shenzen, have banned or restricted this type of vehicles.