The Ministry of Transport intends to submit a master plan that would limit the use of personal vehicles, and increase the capacity and quality of public transportation to the Government by the first quarter of next year.

Newly-appointed minister Dinh La Thang made the statement at a meeting with the press on Oct.5, adding that the ministry would collect public opinion on the plan and finalise it before submitting it to the Government.

Traffic congestion has been a thorny problem in big cities for years and has become worse due to a remarkable increase in the number of vehicles added to the country's roads annually. The ministry's initiative to reduce private vehicles is aimed at improving the traffic situation in big cities, especially in Hanoi and HCM City.

During the meeting, Thang said that the ministry had launched a campaign to encourage transport officials and workers to take the bus to work at least one day per week.

He said he took routes No30 and 32 and the service was fine, but admitted to overloaded buses during peak hours and inconvenient stop locations.

The ministry will work with the Hanoi Transport Corporation this month to come up with drastic measures to improve bus services, he said.

In terms of traffic accidents, Thang admitted to a continually rising death toll even though the overall number of accidents has fallen in the first eight months of the year. The ministry will work with the police to further raise public awareness about traffic laws and impose heavy fines on violators, especially transport officials.

He expressed his agreement with HCM City's proposal to increase fines, adding that illegal motorbike racers should have their vehicles destroyed. In a discussion about funding limitations for infrastructure construction, Thang said the ministry would provide favourable policies to attract investors. Allowing investors to collect fees under a market system could be a possibility, he said./.