Hanoi officials are not happy with how local drivers behave on the streets, asking them to learn from their peers in Ho Chi Minh City.
Nguyen Quoc Hung, vice chairman of Hanoi, has blamed the city's chronic congestion problem on people who encroach on opposite lanes and refuse to cooperate with traffic cops.
“If the manners of drivers in Hanoi are as good as those of drivers in Ho Chi Minh City, the traffic situation will improve a lot,” Hung said, as cited by national radio broadcaster Voice of Vietnam.
He added that many vehicles in his city are overloaded and traffic is also worsened by public projects that take away so much space, including an elevated railway and a subway being constructed in the city downtown.
Hung said the city recorded 412,000 traffic violations during the first nine months this year, with a combined cash fine of VND119 billion (US$5.3 million).
Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, chairman of the National Traffic Safety Committee, said the amount is lower than that of Ho Chi Minh City, without providing comparative data.
Phuc said Hanoi should be stricter with traffic violators and also contractors of public projects who keep dragging behind schedule.
Hung's remarks may make it look like Ho Chi Minh City does not have traffic problems, but the southern metropolis is indeed struggling with a fast growing number of vehicles and an inadequate and sometimes forgotten public transport system.
The city is banking on a new metro system to reduce the use of personal vehicles. Still the first line in the network will not be completed until 2018, if there is no delay.
An intersection in Ho Chi Minh City during a rainy night in September. Photo: Pham Huu