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Hanoi's Plan to Add 4 Bus-Only Lanes Next Year Spurs Debate

Transport experts have pushed back against a plan to create four priority bus lanes next year.

According to VnExpress, last week city officials announced that they want to add new bus-only lanes to the capital as part of their effort to increase the rate of public transport use.

Bui Danh Lien, former vice chairman of the Hanoi Transport Association, told the news source: "Setting up priority lanes for buses will lead to greater congestion. Hanoi should delay implementation of this plan to improve infrastructure conditions."

Lien also noted that officials have struggled to prevent non-bus vehicles from using the Kim Ma-Yen Nghia bus rapid transit (BRT) route, which is supposed to be exclusively for buses.

The municipal Department of Transport found that in the first half of this year, over 700 vehicles used the To Huu Street stretch of the BRT route per hour.

Nguyen Xuan Thuy, an urban transport expert, also criticized the plan, adding that some of the proposed bus-only routes are on extremely congested roads with limited bus services.

"So most people use private vehicles, meaning priority lanes on these narrow roads are not practicable," he told VnExpress.

Meanwhile, Phan Le Binh, a lecturer at the Vietnam Japan University, supports the plan. "The priority lanes for buses will cause traffic congestion in the immediate future, but it is a necessary congestion for people to give up the habit of using personal vehicles and switch to public transport," he said.

Hanoi's leaders are struggling to get people to give up their cars and motorbikes. The city still does not have an operating metro line, while buses only meet 12% of transport demand.

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