Vietnam capital wants the cyclo to disappear

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A cyclo serving foreign tourists in Hanoi

The capital city is preparing to hammer the final nail in the coffin of the iconic cyclo, the three-wheeled pedicab once ubiquitous in the country.

Already reduced to serving tourists in a steadily dwindling area that they are allowed to operate in for many years now, the Hanoi government plans to stop them altogether, a local official has said.

Pham Quang Nghi, the city's Party chief, said in a meeting with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism this week that the city will gradually ban vehicles which are not suitable for traffic, and the cyclo is one of them.

He said the local government will buy the cyclos from their drivers and provide other jobs for them.

Nghi said cyclos are no longer suitable for the city's crowded streets, as they can cause congestion or slow down the flow of daily traffic.

Cyclo, known elsewhere as the cycle rickshaw, has long been a popular form of public transportation in Vietnam as it is safe and inexpensive. In Vietnam, it has also been indispensable for carrying all kinds of goods, especially in and out of narrow alleys where bigger vehicles cannot enter.

In 2009, Hanoi decided to license just four companies operating cyclo services for tourists, with detailed regulations on the routes, the number of passengers allowed, pick up points, the distance to be maintained between two cyclos and the hours in which they are allowed to ply in their restricted areas.

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