Hanoi plans to reduce traffic with working hour adjustment

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Motorists wait at a traffic junction in Hanoi October 31, 2011

Hanoi has drafted a plan to adjust official working hours in the city to reduce traffic jams, leaving state offices and lower schools with the same hours.

The capital plan changes the hours of two groups of traffic users. Group one, including high school and college students, will now attend school between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. and group two, including commercial, services and banking centers, will open between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.

State office workers and students between kindergarten and junior high are going to follow the current time frame of between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., instead of following a changed time frame as suggested by the Ministry of Transport in a proposal to the central government last week.

A source from Hanoi Transport Department said the city does not want to change the hours of state office workers and younger students because they account for a large part of the city population.

Changing their hours will affect the lives of too many people, especially as many state workers would have to drive those from the younger students group to and from from school, the department said.

It also said that state offices are important agencies and that the change would not be worth possibly affecting their operations in a negative way.

The Ministry of Transport submitted another plan to the government, without discussion with Hanoi authorities last week.

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The plan laid out similar changes but went into more detail, dividing colleges into smaller groups according to location.

Hanoi authorities said the adjustment is expected to be effective from the beginning of next year if approved by the government.

The city plan will be sent straight to the government instead of via the ministry as planned earlier, said Phan Dang Long, an officer from the Hanoi Communist Party Unit.

Vietnam has the fourth highest rate of traffic accidents in the world as driving mishaps kill more than 11,400 people in Vietnam every year, according to figures released this week by Vietnam National Traffic Safety Committee.

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