Ho Chi Minh City has made a costly effort to separate cars and motorbikes on several busy roads but it has only worsened the congestion.
The city Transport Department has set up around 40 kilometers of street dividers worth nearly VND50 billion (US$2.5 million) on big streets such as Truong Chinh, Xo Viet Nghe Tinh, Nguyen Van Linh and parts of National Highways 13 and 22, separating motorbikes and cars.
But the planners failed to account for the fact that there are much more motorbikes than cars, and the plan to install dividers has failed totally.
During peak hours, traffic police can no longer direct motorbikes into other lanes which are almost empty.
The city spent around VND4.1 billion on separating lanes with dividers on nearly three kilometers of Truong Chinh Street. When the new arrangement opened on May 3, motorbikes and public buses had to use the same lane. The buses were shifted to the car lanes later, but the motorbikes are still squeezed into a narrow portion of the road.
Tan, a xe om (motorbike taxi) driver 52 years old, called the separation "unreasonable."
"Every day at around 7 a.m. or 5 p.m., the area is stuck for hours. The two ends of the separation are jammed and no one can move," he said.
Dr Pham Xuan Mai, a college lecturer in the city, told the Tuoi Tre newspaper: "It's right to separate cars and motorbikes, but the city has to calculate the real demands of the city residents who use many more motorbikes than cars."
Similar congestions have also occurred on the Xo Viet Nghe Tinh Street, which connects the city's outskirts to District 1.
The two-way street tends to be crowded in one direction as people flock the city's downtown areas in the morning and return in the evening. And people have so far flexibly encroached into the opposite lane to smooth out the traffic.
But since the separation, commuters are crushed into a single lane, and the other side is mostly unused at peak hours.