Vietnam’s jam-packed streets are about to get worse

This is just the beginning.
This is just the beginning.
Image: Reuters
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The Vietnamese government has announced plans to cut automobile tariffs, making cars much more affordable in a country where urban traffic is famously anarchic.

Automobile taxes and registration fees currently add up to almost half of the retail value of cars in Vietnam, making their ownership a luxury. In a country without a subway or tram system, most citizens take the bus or ride a bike.

Not everyone will welcome cheaper cars, though. The streets of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh are already chaotic, with lax traffic control and overcrowded pavements. The transport department plans to narrow the sidewalks to give vehicles more space.

Already, new car registrations in Vietnam this year are up 50% over the same period last year. According to the Vietnamese paper Thanh Nien, 900 new vehicles a day are registered in Ho Chi Minh City, while motorbike sales have decreased by 25% over the past year.