Vehicles drive along a public bus in Hanoi. The city plans to test its motorbike restriction in areas with convenient public transport. Photo by VnExpress/Gia Chinh
The municipal administration says the pilot ban will be enforced in areas where public transportation can cover most of the local transportation demand.
Hanoi Transport Department director Vu Van Vien said Le Van Luong and Nguyen Trai streets, where the Cat Linh-Ha Dong metro line and the bus system, including a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route, run through, are potential candidates. The streets run parallel in Thanh Xuan District, around seven kilometers (4.3 miles) west of Hanoi center.
The long-delayed Cat Linh-Ha Dong metro is expected to begin commercial operations next month.
Vien said the department will not rush to execute the pilot plan but will carefully study and make assessments to ensure it will be as feasible and suitable with actual transportation as possible.
The city will also collect public opinion during the time it builds and carries out the pilot plan, he said.
At a meeting in 2017, the city council passed a resolution on traffic management which included banning motorbikes in downtown Hanoi and boosting public transportation by 2030.
The municipal transport department is currently considering two options to reduce private vehicles on the roads, one of which is to limit and then gradually prohibit motorbikes in the downtown area by 2030.
The other option is to collect fees from vehicles entering the inner city.
The resolution says that the city wants to reduce the number of all personal vehicles in the downtown area, and not just motorbikes.
"For cars, the city wants to raise parking fees in the downtown areas and impose a charge to enter some areas where traffic jams usually happen," Vien said.
The resolution is not only for Hanoi to tackle chronicle traffic jams but also tackle air pollution, which has become bad in recent years.
With more than 7.5 million people, the capital city has 5.2 million motorbikes and around 550,000 cars, besides some 1.2 million bikes brought by immigrants, according to police figures.
Nguyen Trong Dong, director of the city environment department, said at a meeting of the city’s top officials last Saturday that monitoring of air quality in the last three years showed it was often very poor during periods when traffic density was high.