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|Taxis stuck in traffic jams in HCM City. VNS Photo|
The first pilot taxi pick-up stand will be on Nguyễn Du and Lý Tự Trọng streets.
The city has about 11,000 licensed taxis, mainly operating in the city’s centre, according to the city’s Transport Department.
Because of a parking shortage in downtown areas, most of the taxis park in front of restaurants and hotels to pick up and drop off passengers, causing disorder and traffic congestion.
The most affected areas include streets around Từ Dũ Hospital and Bến Thành Market and streets with many hotels such as Bùi Thị Xuân and Lý Tự Trọng streets.
Taxi drivers compete fiercely for parking spots, according to one taxi driver interviewed in late July.
The big taxi firms pay for parking spaces for their taxis in front of restaurants, hotels, entertainment centres and public spaces such as bus terminals, railway stations, airports and hospitals, which are considered their “domain”.
Phạm Đình Đức, head of the Transport Department’s transportation management division, said the department, in coordination with District 1 People’s Committee and other agencies, would set up five fixed pilot taxi pick-up points in District 1.
The pick-up points are located in front of Children’s Hospital No 2 on Nguyễn Du and Lý Tự Trọng streets, in front of Intercontinental Hotel on Nguyễn Du Street, and in front of Galaxy Cinema on Nguyễn Du Street.
Reducing traffic congestion
Under the pilot scheme, parking and no-parking signs will be set up as well as waiting areas at the five taxi pick-up points.
There will be no discrimination and priority will be given to taxis arriving at the pick-up points first.
Drivers will have two minutes for passengers to embark or disembark from their taxis at these pick-up points.
Tạ Long Hỷ, chairman of HCM City Taxi Drivers Association, and also director of Vinasun taxi firm, said the taxi pick-up points would create favourable conditions for taxi drivers.
He said that hundreds of pick-up points would be necessary in the city to accommodate the number of operating taxis
Government agencies must be informed about the purchasing of spots for taxis at restaurants, hotels, entertainment centres and other public spaces such as hospitals, he said.
“For the taxi pick-up point plan to be a success, these important details must be disclosed to relevant agencies,” Hỷ said.
Transportation expert Lâm Thiếu Quân said that other big cities in the country had set up official taxi parking spaces near bus terminals, ports and airports, railway stations, restaurants, hotels, hospitals, office buildings, entertainment parks, and tourist sites. These taxi parking areas do not permit other means of transport.
However, HCM City has no licensed parking areas. City authorities, when licensing hotels, restaurants, shopping centres and other facilities, have not required the owners to provide parking spaces for taxis.
As a result, traffic congestion occurs in front of these facilities because of numerous taxis picking up and dropping off passengers.
“In the near future, city authorities should create parking areas in public areas in the inner city districts of 1, 3 and 5,” Quân said. “This is one of the basic measures of transportation organisation and management used to reduce traffic congestion.”
This information should be provided to other districts in the city, he said.