Parkin' wreck

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Cars parked on a Hanoi street despite a ban that took effect on Wednesday

Hundreds of makeshift parking lots on Hanoi sidewalks and roads are still operating despite a ban that took effect on Wednesday (February 15).

Under the ban issued on February 8, no bicycles, motorbikes and cars are allowed to park on the roads and sidewalks of 262 streets in nine districts, including Hoan Kiem, Ba Dinh, Dong Da, Hai Ba Trung, Cau Giay, Thanh Xuan, Tay Ho, Long Bien and Hoang Mai.

The Hanoi People's Committee, the municipal government, asked the city's Transport Department to complete the withdrawal of all permits previously issued to such parking lot owners - who earn money from keeping bicycles, motorbikes and cars on the sidewalks and roads - by February 15.

The department also directed transport inspectors to work with city police to strengthen patrols, inspections and the handling of parking violations.

However, motorbikes were still parked in front of the Hanoi Post Office on Dinh Tien Hoang Street on Wednesday morning.

Employees of the parking lot said they had heard nothing about the ban.

Many other streets included in the ban are still full of motorbikes and cars.

In September 2011, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City were asked by the Transport Ministry to make plans to clear all roadside parking lots to improve traffic conditions in the crowded cities.

Minister Dinh La Thang has criticized Hanoi authorities for licensing certain parking lots so that some individual officers could pocket the money instead of giving it to the state budget.

Meanwhile, a parking ban on certain streets in HCMC has seriously affected many drivers.

Cabbie Thuan of Vinasun said he had to drive around most of the time instead of parking and waiting for passengers. Some drivers just violated the ban because they have no legal place to park, he said.

He said many private car drivers have been fined because they were not aware of the ban.

Ta Long Hy, Chairman of the HCMC Taxi Association, said the ban is not realistic.

The transport ministry and city administration should find another solution that allows street parking and deters traffic congestion at the same time like facilitating parking lot construction projects, he said.

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