Vietnam aims to banish hordes of motorcycles from capital

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HANOI (Reuters) - Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, approved a plan on Tuesday to ban the motorcycles that swarm its streets by 2030 in an attempt to reduce traffic jams and pollution, the city’s People Committee said on its website.

Authorities first considered banning the notorious hordes of bikes in the capital last year over fears its leafy streets would soon be overrun as the population swells and the middle class buys up cars in record numbers.

Under the scheme, the city government will gradually limit motorcycles in certain areas, the committee said in a statement on its website.

But there is concern over the feasibility of the plan.

Motorcycle riders say it would be impossible to ban people from a mode of transport they have grown up with, especially given the city’s poor public transport.

Vietnam’s rapid economic growth has seen household incomes quadruple since the turn of the century. One in every two of its 90 million people own a motorcycle, and car sales rose 30 percent in 2016.

Hanoi is forecast to have six million motorcycles on its roads in the next three years, according to the city government.

Reporting by My Pham; Editing by Robert Birsel