Are motorbikes going to be banned in Saigon?

As everyone knows and experiences, Ho Chi Minh is flooded with motorbikes. Driving through rush-hour can’t even be called driving at all. The stop and go movements while breathing heavy fumes are getting to everyone. For this reason, a few months ago, local officials looked into the option of banning motorbikes in districts 1, 3, 5 and 10 by the start of 2025. New reports, however, state that this might be more difficult to realize that most would expect.

"The plan to charge cars and remove motorbikes from downtown HCMC by 2025-2030 in order to resolve the city’s congestion crisis is not feasible," Ngo Viet Nam Son, traffic expert and CEO of Ngo Viet Design Consultant Company told VnExpress International."

Driving in Ho Chi Minh City

One of the main problems facing a motorbike ban is practicality. Almost everyone living in Saigon owns a motorbike. It was estimated that there are currently 8 million motorbikes in the city and an extra 30,000 get added every month. Motorbikes offer an easy and affordable means of transport that currently can’t be met by public transportation.

The only way to make a ban feasible would be if public transportation can take up to 80% of all daily commuters. Since most bus lines were set up with poor preliminary investigation, it becomes difficult to get to your destination on time. Busses seem to either be overcrowded or completely empty at all times. Frankly, the routes that most busses drive isn’t in line with the needs of the commuters.

Urban planning

To fully realize a change to motorbike banishment and increased public transportation, Ho Chi Minh would need to undergo a radical restructuring of its entire infrastructure. More realistically, we should be looking at new development projects and how we can incorporate better urban planning.

Considerations can be made to create a metro system, elevated bus lanes and even separate lanes for cyclists. This, however, seems impossible when thinking about the narrow streets and alleyways of district 1.


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