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Hanoi Moves Forward With 2030 Motorbike Ban Despite Expert Opposition

This week, Hanoi legislators approved a draft resolution to ban motorbike usage in an effort to reduce traffic congestion in the city’s center starting in 2030, despite strong opposition from the public as well as traffic experts.

According to VnExpress, the People’s Council’s decision, which passed with a 91% vote in favor, has been defended by the Transport Ministry, which claims the public was surveyed and is in support of the motorbike ban.

The Transport Development and Strategy Institute (TDSI) reported that 15,000 households were surveyed in 30 of Hanoi's districts. The TDSI contends that more than 90% of those asked backed the ban, with the condition that Hanoi’s public transportation be improved, reports VietnamNet

Members of the public have questioned the veracity of the survey’s results, while traffic experts doubt the feasibility of the ban. A recent online poll taken by VnExpress showed only 30% of votes in favor of the ban. Transportation expert Dr. Vu Anh Tuan, who specializes in road-user behavior in Hanoi, told Forbes that a previously proposed motorcycle ban was "not reasonable at all based on the level of infrastructure and quality of services available.”

Other experts believe that perceptions about public transportation will have to change before a motorbike ban is possible. Matias Lorbacher, who ran a three-year study which monitored urban transport in Hanoi, told the news outlet, "It’s a social factor, public transport has the perception of being transportation for the poor."

Prominent lawyers have also questioned the legality of such a ban. Hanoi Bar Association Vice President Nguyen Hong Tuyen admonished state agencies, saying they must be sure about the legal grounds that they use to justify such a ban, reports VietnamNet. He asked, "How will the residents living in the inner-city travel outside?"

The proposed legislation would ban motorbikes from the downtown areas and limit them in areas provided with adequate public transportation. Cars would not be banned, but would only have access to specific streets during certain hours of the day, with automobile drivers having to pay higher fees for parking in the downtown areas, the news source explains.

Hanoi currently has roughly 5.2 million motorbikes (more than 10% of the motorbikes in the entire country), 460,000 cars and a population of over 7.5 million, which is projected to reach 9.2 million by 2030.

[Photo via Washington Post]

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