The Hanoitimes - By 2030, there will be 1.9 million cars and 7.5 million motorbikes circulating in Hanoi.
Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue has agreed with Hanoi’s plan on charging fees on private cars entering the city’s downtown, in an effort to curb traffic congestion and pollution.
Under the deputy prime minister’s request, Hanoi People’s Committee will discuss with the Ministry of Finance on the legal basis, necessity of congestion pricing, and the suitable rates to be applied on different kinds of vehicles.
The Ministry of Finance, in turn, will have to work with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and the Ministry of Transport to help the government issue a decree on charging fees for emissions.
Vehicles are seen on a street in downtown Hanoi.
In September, the Hanoi People’s Committee asked for the government’s permission to apply toll for private cars going into the areas inside the belt road No.3.
Hanoi’s authorities said that the fee collection procedure will cause no congestion as they will set up electronic toll collection and private cars will be requested to equip a device that enables automatic deduction. They also consider different rates applied in rush hours and non-rush hours.
Local authorities said measures to curb the growing number of vehicles are urgent. The number of motorized vehicles will reach 843,000 cars and more than six million motorbikes by 2020. By 2030, there will be 1.9 million cars and 7.5 million motorbikes circulating in the city.
Bui Danh Lien, head of Hanoi’s Transport Association, said that charging fees for private cars on the ground of preventing pollution is unreasonable as people are paying environmental protection fees included in gasoline prices. In addition, it’s hard to classify vehicles that should pay toll fees.
In October 2017, Ho Chi Minh City also planned to charge fees for private cars to the downtown areas to curb traffic jam. The move, according to an expert from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), may worsen the situation as commuters will seek other kinds of vehicles that are more convenient like motorbikes for example, instead of public transport.
In another move, the Hanoi People’s Council approved a project on banning motorbikes entering downtown from 2030. The municipal authorities said that the operations of urban railways and bus rapid transit (BRT) will meet 50% of transport demand in the downtown areas by that time.
Meanwhile, Head of the Hanoi Bar Association Nguyen Hong Tuyen questioned the legal basis of the plan. Other experts doubted the capacity of public transport in sharing traffic burden once motorbikes are wiped out.