Hanoi urged to curb traffic congestion
  • | Quynh Anh | October 18, 2011 03:15 PM

>> Drastic measures urged to curb traffic jams

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Hanoi is considering simple but effective methods to mitigate rush hour traffic jams.

Hanoi may change school and office working time to ease traffic jams

The city is considering amending traditional office and school hours in order to spread traffic flows over a wider period of time. However, a controversial ban on taxis operating during rush hour is also under discussion.

Officials made the proposals at a meeting in Hanoi on October 17.

Concerns over public bus service

Nguyen Hoang Hai, Director of Hanoi Urban Transport Management and Operation Centre, ruefully admitted that “Hanoi’s public bus services are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. In order to survive, it’s vital to heighten service quality.”

According to Hai, buses are currently operating at 80% of their capacity.

Nguyen Phi Thuong, an official from Hanoi Transport Corporation (Transerco) said, “Transerco currently holds an 86% market share of Hanoi’s public transport services market. The company operates 926 public buses, which serve over one million passengers per day, accounting for 93% of the city’s total public transport users,” he shared.

However, the company faces a lot of challenges, including overcrowded buses, prolonged journeys and erratic service quality, Thuong noted.

In some areas, bus stops are too far from residential areas, hindering local residents from using services. Increased reports of pick-pocketing and poor service culture among drivers and conductors had added to the situation, he admitted.

“Up to 80% of passengers are students and the number of public transport users is on the rise. However, currently we’re unable to heighten our service frequency due to overcrowded roads,” he added.

Drastic measures proposed

In order to ease traffic flow in the capital city at rush hour, authorities in Hanoi have proposed amending office and school operating hours.

Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang

Nguyen Van Khoi, Vice Chairman of Hanoi, said he has demanded measures to deal with traffic jams such as dividing road lanes, pedestrianisation of some roads, and improvements in public transport. However, the Ministry of Transport and authorities in Hanoi must work together to reach an agreement on changing school time and office working time to ease the situation.

Dr. Khuat Viet Hung, from Hanoi University of Transport and Communications, proposed charging motorised vehicles for parking in the inner city at rush hour, identifying bus lanes and pedestrianising certain streets.

In response to the proposals, Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang emphasised the desperate need to work out the simplist methods to deal with Hanoi’s traffic headaches.

“Priority must be given to changing school and office times. If offices start at 9am through to 6pm, instead of current from 8am-5pm, it would help ease traffic flows,” Thang said.

According to Thang, he has held talks with Minister of Education and Training Pham Vu Luan about changing school hours. The Ministry of Transport will be responsible to submit the plans to the Government for approval, he attributed.

He asked authorities in Hanoi to hasten the division of road lanes, and pay more attention to transport infrastructure construction, especially overpasses. Hanoi also needed to take more drastic measures to deal with illegal parking.

“Taxis should be banned at rush hour, in addition to the immediate ban on private vehicles in some areas,” he added.

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