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Saigon Considers Altering Work Hours to Tackle Traffic Congestion

As Saigon’s traffic problems get progressively worse, municipal authorities recently announced that they’re considering a handful of proposed solutions that were previously tabled, including an adjustment of office hours citywide to ease rush-hour congestion.

During a recent meeting chaired by the municipal People’s Committee, delegates from various city departments convened to review new policies for 2017, reports Tuoi Tre.

The transport representative also urged the Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs to come up with different business hours for segments of the working population in order to tackle the city’s traffic jam epidemic, especially at 37 congestion hotspots around the metropolis.

The idea is to minimize instances where many commuters are on the road at the same time. Transport officials suggested that school hours, office hours and supermarket opening times should be changed to 8am, 8:30am and 9am, respectively.

However, changing the opening hours of local schools and businesses is not exactly a novel solution: at the moment, schools in Saigon already follow different schedules. Specifically, high school students start their first lesson at 7am while primary school kids don't begin until 7:30am.

The plan to implement this change on a larger scale is not receiving the warmest of welcomes. Cao Thanh Binh, deputy head of the Economics and Budget Committee under the municipal People’s Council, shared with the news outlet that such a shift in work hours might impact a large percentage of citizens and thus requires more time for thorough assessment.

“In order to execute the scheme, careful assessment of its impact on society, local economy, and lives of citizens must be conducted,” Binh told Tuoi Tre. He also added that previously, the proposal was rejected by the council, as the first draft did not have sufficient evaluation of its effects on society.

Saigon’s traffic problems have become noticeably worse in recent years due to the city’s rapid urbanization. According to municipal officials, this is the result of various setbacks, from the rise of skyscrapers to a lack of parking spaces.

Recently, local authorities have considered several projects, from an underground parking lot beneath the Saigon Zoo to a nine-story parking structure in Lam Son Square, in an effort to combat traffic congestion.

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