HA NOI Tourists in the capital might not have much longer to enjoy sight-seeing tours by cyclos as there is a proposal that they be ended after 2010.
From now until the end of the year, suggestions have been made that cyclos should be reduced in number, routes narrowed and shortened, and the unique cycle powered transports banned from the Old Quarter.
The proposals were raised at a conference on management on cyclos held in the capital last week by the municipal Police Department, as part of the wider discussion on transport in Ha Noi.
According to the department, 79 of 388 cyclo drivers hold invalid registration certificates and another 29 do not have any official permits.
It also showed that there were more than 1,000 violations of various regulations and laws in only a month between August and September. "Total in fines for more than a thousand cases including breaking traffic laws, operating without valid certificates, using fake registrations, using substandard cyclos and not wearing any form of uniform was just VND31 million (US$1,700)," said deputy director of the department Tran Thuy, "The fines aren t heavy enough to act as a deterrent."
"Staff shortages mean we find it hard to take action against those breaking regulations," he said, adding there are no administrative sanctions to punish drivers who did not have proper certificates.
Department of Transport deputy director Nguyen Hoang Linh said old cyclos must be seized.
"To suspend the operations or revoke licences of enterprises which have too many cyclos flouting regulations will not only ensure traffic safety but also preserve city order," he added.
"We, together with the municipal People s Committee and relevant agencies, will consider the proposal to eradicate cyclos," Linh said, "Initially, we keep inspecting and re-examining all cyclos until the end of the month."
Nguyen Van Minh, a cyclo driver, could not hide his anxiety after hearing about the proposal.
"I agree that many drivers lack awareness in obeying traffic laws and they should be fined and punished," Minh said. "But we re not all the same."
"I m praying I won t have to give up my job that I ve loved doing for nearly 15 years," Minh said.
Truong Duy Linh, a part-time tour guide, said the city tour by cyclo was an indispensable part of the itinerary which attracted foreign tourists.
"I really don t want to see their disappointment at not being able to take a leisurely cyclo tour."
The municipal Road and Railway Traffic Police Department proposed that licences should be considered to be given to only 300 qualified cyclos with the rest being seized. VNS