Parking ban in Saigon backpackers area is working: officials

By Tan Phu-Trung Hieu, Thanh Nien News

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Buses and cars block Pham Ngu Lao Street in Ho Chi Minh City's backpackers area before the parking ban is introduced. Photo: Nguyen Bao 
Ho Chi Minh City authorities said they are determined to enforce a ban on vehicles that rampantly park on the streets in the backpackers’ area, disregarding opposition from hotels in the neighborhood.
The HCMC government earlier this year announced the ban, saying a large number of buses and cars occupied the area's already crowded streets and caused traffic congestion. 
Eight hotels in District 1 have protested the ban and complained that it is causing difficulties to their business.
They said most of their guests come in on group tours, usually of 40-50 people, with a lot of luggage so they need to travel to the hotels on large buses.
Now that the buses are banned from parking on the streets, it will be hard for the tourists, who will have to walk a long way to the hotels, they said.
They proposed that the city government allow large buses to park in front of the hotels for 15 minutes for pick-ups. Currently, only mini vans with less than 16 seats are allowed to park for three minutes.
After receiving the complaints, officials from the Department of Transport and District 1 People’s Committee inspected the backpackers’ area on March 8.
Pham Ngu Lao Street after the parking ban is enforced in a photo taken on March 9, 2016. Photo: Duc Tien
Le Hoang Minh, deputy director of the department, then said the out-of-control parking violations on the streets must be stopped and the city authorities are determined to strictly enforce the ban.
“It is extremely necessary to put traffic back in order for the area,” he said.
Minh said the transport department had arranged a parking lot for buses in the nearby September 23 Park, and it will be no trouble walking from there.
Le Tan Dat, chairman of Pham Ngu Lao Ward, said most of local people supported the parking ban as the streets became much more spacious, like they should be.
Huynh Cong Hung, a member of the HCMC People’s Council, said the ban is needed as it will reduce traffic congestion.

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