Motorcyclists riding past a shopping center in downtown Ho Chi Minh City / PHOTO: AFP
Over 39 million motorbikes are currently registered in Vietnam, over three million more than the amount a government plan envisaged for 2020.
The figure was reported by Nguyen Hoang Hiep, vice chairman of the National Traffic Safety Committee, at an online meeting with local governments on Tuesday, according to Thoi bao Kinh te Saigon (Saigon Times) Online.
He said in the first two months of this year, more than 212,000 new motorbikes were registered across the country.
Meanwhile, 10,445 new cars were added, bringing the total number of cars in Vietnam to over 2.1 million.
A government plan announced last February for the development of personal vehicles envisaged that Vietnam would have around 36 million motorbikes and some 3.5 million cars as of 2020.
At the time, the number of motorbikes was estimated at 35 million and cars 1.5 million, the news site reported.
Hien’s report came as the country’s two biggest cities Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are struggling with measures for restricting personal vehicles within their city limits.
In fact, in recent years several experts and the government have proposed a ban on motorbikes in major cities in an effort to reduce traffic jams and accidents. But the idea has been met by opposition.
In the latest move, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has ordered authorities in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong, Da Nang and Can Tho to supply public bicycle services in their city centers to encourage people to switch from their personal vehicles.
The initiative must be implemented by the third quarter of this year, according to Dung’s order.
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