Travel agents protest Hanoi's proposed cyclo ban

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Many travel agents in Hanoi are voicing their opposition to a proposed citywide ban on the slow-moving pedicabs, known as cyclos.


According to reports from VnExpress, the ban was discussed at a meeting last Thursday.


During the proceedings, police officials claimed that reckless cyclo drivers regularly move in packs of 40-50, creating dangerous and obstructive traffic conditions. 


They added that many pedicab operators do business illegally throughout the city.


However, Ung Trong Tu, vice chairman of Hanoi Travel Club,  told the news website that cyclos are an iconic draw for Hanoi's tourism industry, like tuk tuks in Cambodia or Thailand.


Not all cyclo drivers create traffic problems, he said.


Tu said that the drivers who charge by the hour create a deliberate drag on the flow of vehicles.


"The city needs to use administrative measures to make cyclos operate in accordance with regulations instead of banning them," he said.


The tourist opearator urged police and transportation officials to establish a minimum speed for cyclos to prevent traffic jams.


Tu suggested banning the vehicles during rush hours and creating regulated routes for cyclo drivers.


Meanwhile, Dao Hong Thuong, vice director of Vietsky Travel, stressed that many foreign tourists love the Vietnamese vehicle, which has become an iconic component of tours through the city's Old Quarter.


"Without cyclos, the tours will lose their appeal," he said.


Nguyen Thi Huyen, vice director of Vietran Tour, also said that many of her customers specifically request cyclo rides.


"Getting rid of cyclos means losing a traditional aspect of Vietnamese culture," she said. "It would be difficult to bring it back, once it's gone."


On the other hand, some tourist operators told VNexpress that the vehicle isn't all it's cracked up to be. 


Luu Duc Ke, director of Hanoi Tourist, said that while cyclos are an recognizable part of the urban landscape, the business has become totally disorganized.


Tourists no longer feel safe in the pedicabs, due to concerns about accidents and the stressful atmosphere of Hanoi's traffic jams, he said. 


Ke's company no longer uses cyclos following a rash of customer complaints.


"If a service lacks sufficiant quality and causes difficulties to management agencies, it should be banned," he said.


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