Tag Archives: traffic

Road Accidents Continue to Plague Vientiane Capital

Road Accidents in Vientiane

Road accidents continue to plague Vientiane Capital, with the latest figures for the year so far reaching a staggering 525 cases, according to a recent announcement by police.

Police Regulate Unauthorized Street Traders

vendors

In an effort to declutter the streets of Vientiane, authorities took to the footpaths along Khouvieng Road, surrounding areas of Kuadin market and several other various locations around town last week, ordering unsanctioned street vendors and traders to vacate the premises.

The crackdown was issued by the Vientiane Public Works and Transport Department, in relation to the ongoing “Clean Vientiane” campaign.

Director of Vientiane Public Works and Transport Department, Dethsongkharm Thammavong declared on June 16, that the removal and relocation of street vendors from busy roads to designated areas will be completed by this week.

With an attempt in providing constant traffic flow, better transportation for both domestic and foreign visitors along with maintaining a cleaner city, tuk-tuks have also been ordered to relocate to the assigned areas, otherwise risk being fined in accordance with traffic laws.

There are several areas in and around the capital that are notoriously known to be gridlocked during rush hour. By restricting street vendors and tuks-tuks from parking themselves in the middle of chaotic traffic, officials hope to alleviate the amount of congestion and blockage within the city.

Seatbelts Now Compulsory on Vientiane Roads

seatbelt-feature-image

While regulations on seatbelt use have existed since 2013, the law has rarely been enforced. Recently, however, Vientiane residents have begun receiving fines from diligent police for failure to buckle up.  

According to Article 18 of the Law on Land Traffic, drivers and passengers of vehicles with four or more wheels, including all front passengers, must wear a seatbelt. Infants that are unable to wear a seatbelt must be seated in a car seat.

Vientiane drivers have taken to popular social media sites to vent their misfortunes, stating that they are being fined 150,000 LAK per traffic violation, with paper receipts of the fine to prove it.

Seatbelt Fine Vientiane Capital

So why now? The seatbelt crackdown may be due to a pledge authorities made to road safety back in 2016. As previously reported by The Laotian Times, the Traffic Police Department of the Ministry of Public Security partnered up with Lao Brewery Co., Ltd to run a road safety campaign due to the rising toll of injuries and deaths caused by road accidents.

Statistics show that those who utilize seat belts dramatically reduce the risk of vehicular death by 45%, and cut the risk of serious injury by 50%.

Though the crackdown on seatbelt use may have caught the public unawares, the safety measure has been implemented as good practice and will save hundreds, if not thousands of lives on Vientiane roads.

 

A Whopping 9000 Newly Registered Vehicles in Only Two Months

9000 new vehicles in vientiane

Thanks to the stimulated economy and continuing socio-economic development in Laos, reports show that in the first two months of 2017, approximately 9000 vehicles have been  newly registered.

The Vientiane Public Works and Transport Department disclosed that just in January and February alone, there were 8,972 newly registered vehicles, bringing the number of newly registered vehicles in Vientiane Capital to 807,991 units since 2000.

Newly registered vehicles this year contain 5,642 motorcycles, 808 sedans, 483 pick-up trucks, 489 jeeps, 119 vans, 406 heavy trucks and 25 buses.

A total 0f 69,000 newly registered vehicles was reported for 2016.

It is speculated by the authorities in the department that the purchasing volume of vehicles has increased due to the boost of civil servant’s’ monthly salaries.

As a result, the influx of vehicles has heavily contributed to traffic congestion and road accidents within the city of Vientiane.  Last year, more than 1,000 road accidents were reported nationwide.

Traffic Accidents Bleeding the Lao Economy

Traffic Accidents in Laos

Traffic accidents are one of the largest causes of death in the Lao PDR, and are also causing massive economic losses, according to one economist.

Police reports state that 1,086 deaths were caused by traffic accidents in 2016, with the number of injuries caused by traffic accidents reaching 8,912.  The total number of accidents reached 5,616, and the cost of these accidents was a whopping 83 billion kip.

According to a recent Vientiane Times article, senior economist at the National Economic Research Institute, Dr Leeber Leebouapao, losses from road accidents amount to nearly 1 percent of Gross Domestic Product, which saw growth at 6.9 percent last year.

Dr Leeber feels that road accidents should be placed at the top of the nation’s agenda, and calls upon all sectors to devise programs and awareness campaigns that will help to mitigate the problem.

He went on to say that fatalities caused by road accidents in Laos were higher than deaths caused by wars or political conflicts in some countries.

Without urgent measures being taken, the situation will be unlikely to see improvement. Accidents cause tremendous financial losses to the state, and negatively affect society.

These costs include personal costs to victims families, property damage, ambulance and hospital cover. Accidents involving essential members of the workforce can also directly affect the nation’s human resources.

The rise in accidents is connected to the rapid economic development seen in Laos, which has led to an increase in vehicle ownership among the population. Growing demand for personal transportation and a lack of public transport options only adds to the issue.

The country’s very reputation is at stake, with reports appearing in foreign news media regarding the astonishing accident rate in Laos.

Dr Leeber added that road accidents are a huge drain on time and money, and law enforcement has not been serious about taking action toward a viable solution.

Vientiane Sustainable Urban Transport Project Underway

vientiane sustainable urban transport project

An official in charge of the Vientiane Sustainable Urban Transport Project has said that financial support has been obtained that will help establishment of a BRT (Bus Rapid Transport) system, which is one major goal of the project.

The Asian Development Bank approved a loan of US $35 million to spearhead the project, while a further US $35 was provided by other donor organizations.

The Vientiane Sustainable Urban Transport Project is a large-scale project with the aim of improving transportation systems in the congested capital city.

The project has five main components, beginning with the establishment of a sustainable urban transport management agency for Vientiane, which will bring traffic and transportation management under the control of one unique entity. The next phase of the project is the development of the BRT system for Vientiane Capital, followed by improved traffic management, paid parking systems, and better accessibility for pedestrians and non-motor traffic in the core of the city.

Under the project, an 84-km section of Vientiane Capital will be covered by the BRT network, including a dedicated bus lane of 11.5km running from Wattay International Airport to Nongbone Village, in Saysettha District.

The bus rapid transit system will feature over 11km of dedicated bus corridor lanes, 24 enclosed stations, and new low-carbon emitting buses. BRT buses are to utilize rail-like systems and dedicated lanes, which will ensure faster services and reduce traffic congestion. 

Planned Vientiane Bus Loops

Paid parking systems and an upgrade to the national vehicle registration system are also in the planning stages, with more pedestrian crossings, overpasses and walkways also in the works.

Construction of the project is set to begin next year, while the government seeks a consulting firm to oversee the project.

The Vientiane Sustainable Urban Transport Project will help to create a friendlier traffic environment for pedestrians and non-motor transportation, and offer better public transportation services for Vientiane residents.

According to the ADB, public transportation in Vientiane Capital currently accounts for less than one percent of daily trips.

Images: ADB

Top 10 Highest Traffic Lao Websites in Laos

High Traffic Lao Websites

The top 10 highest traffic Lao websites  may actually surprise you. Banking websites take top traffic dollar, with news sites and job portals close behind, giving a broad overview of what the average Lao internet user is spending their time on.

According to a recent survey, many Laos-based businesses feel they can make a saving by advertising their brand or related products through social media rather than investing in traditional websites. The belief seems to be that Facebook pages reach a larger audience in Laos, and achieve results faster than websites.

But while Facebook and other social media can help companies engage with customers, traditional websites still pack more of a punch when it comes to enhanced credibility and dedicated functionality.

In light of this, here are the top 10 Laos-based websites (made in Laos to serve the Lao market):
based on Alexa In-Country Rankings

The Top Ten High Traffic Lao Websites:

1. BCEL.COM.LA

Coming in at number one is BCEL.COM.LA. The website is owned by the largest state-owned bank, Banque Pour Le Commerce Extérieur Lao, and provides virtually everything the public needs to know about the bank (hours of operation, bank holidays, contact information, rates, loans criteria, etc). But the bank’s high traffic is generated primarily by its two star elements: exchange rates and the BCEL One app.

Why exchange rates? Due to the fact that it owns a majority share of the Lao market, a significant number of Lao customers and businesses use BCEL’s exchange rates (determined by the Bank of the Lao PDR) as a standard benchmark with which to convert currency across the three most used currencies in Laos, namely LAK, USD and THB.

“BCEL.COM.LA is my browser’s default home page. My customers always prefer to pay in baht but my prices are listed in kip. I look at the bank’s exchange rates every single day, sometimes multiples times a day. I am fairly certain that others are doing this as well,” remarks Saysavath “Mickey” Keosanya, who operates a small cafe in Phonthan Village.

Why BCEL One? The game-changing app, BCEL One, has taken the local banking industry by storm. With this particular app, anyone with a BCEL account can transfer money to other accounts, pay for phone, electricity, water, internet bills and taxes, and top up cards for gas and tolls, among a variety of other functions. Both individuals and organizations are taking advantage of this convenient application, which is available on iOS and Android. A web-based version is also available for desktop users.

As the authority on exchange rates and with such a popular mobile banking app (both of which are part of the bcel.com.la domain), it is no wonder this page takes pole position among Laos-based websites.

2. LAOPOST.COM

A relative newcomer created just two years ago as a joint venture between a Thai IT specialist and a Lao writer, Lao Post has emerged as the number one online news website in Laos. With over 90 percent of the site’s traffic in-country, this page boasts over 900,000 page views per month. Lao Post has a dedicated team of content writers and reporters, and the website has gained a significant readership over the past two years.

Lao Post covers local and international news, and with a special focus on politics, economy, social issues and lifestyle. According to one source, Lao Post recently sold some of its shares to a private firm with interests in regional media.

“Lao Post always has the most information. Their Facebook Page is constantly flooded with news reports and their international news coverage is also quite up-to-date,” notes one local online reader.

3. 108JOB.LA

108jobs is not the only jobs portal in Laos, but it is without a doubt the most prominent. Owned by the 108-1009 Group Company, it is the nation’s premier recruitment site that efficiently matches job seekers and employers. With a supporting print magazine called 108 Magazine, the website is well-positioned to become a leading one-stop service multi-channel recruitment media center.

Portal founder and serial entrepreneur Keovisouk Dalasane believes that “in an emerging market – or any growing economy for that matter – a jobs portal that serves as a marketplace to match employers and employees will always be essential. We grow as the economy grows, and we are quite humbled to be a contribution to raising employment in the nation.”

Having recently celebrated its 5th Anniversary, 108job.la has now taken swift measures for a 2017 re-brand. A fashionable, more modern logo and a soon-to-be-announced overhaul of the website design and functionality are mere surface improvements to the business. Dalasane has hinted at a broader, more regionally-focused portal, one which will engender a domain name change: 108.jobs.

4. MYDELIVERY.LA

Launched in 2015 as one of the first online delivery websites, mydelivery.la became an instant success. The online platform currently boasts over 200 popular restaurants in Vientiane Capital. The idea behind the site was to bring food delivery service online, making it more efficient and affordable for the end-user and raking in higher sales for restaurants. The site is owned and operated by Kiwi Company.

5. VIENTIANETIMES.ORG.LA

As the only English language daily newspaper in Laos, the Vientiane Times is highly read among expats and educated Lao professionals all around the country. Established in 1994 by the Lao Press for Foreign Languages, it operates under the auspices of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism. It covers a wide range of topics, including politics, economy, entertainment, international issues, stock market and business updates, and more.

Its website is very popular not simply among locals and expatriate residents in Laos but also around the world. The Vientiane Times is often cited by reputable regional and global newspapers and sites.

6. THOLAKHONG.COM

Tholakhong is a citizen journalism website driven almost exclusively by social media, particularly Facebook. Making use of the citizen journalism model to crowdsource news and distribute it via Facebook, the page gained momentum during the crash of Lao Airlines Flight 301, when traditional news media failed to provide timely information about the disaster. A second air crash incident involving senior officials that was similarly under-reported in local media helped to cement the website’s position as ‘first on the scene,’ as Tholakhong was able to provide information not available elsewhere.

After its incredible success in gaining a huge following, Tholakhong became one of the first to monetize its Facebook Page. The page is administrated by multiple page admins and is noted for its civic-oriented assistance, spreading news about lost items, missing persons and those in need of cash donations.

“Tholakhong has done a tremendous amount for the community, helping dozens of individuals get cash funding for medical procedures and blood transfusions. More importantly, the Tholakhong movement has engendered a whistleblower culture that has been serving as a check on many of society’s social ills. Hit-and-run drivers, petty thieves, mischievous employees, and fraudulent business owners are easy targets for whistleblowers as the former comprise a group of people that are seldom chastised publicly and are seen to have escaped the law more often than not. Encouraging the public to speak out against these societal menaces is healthy for the country,” observes Sithat, a social media enthusiast.

7. KIDORK.COM

Owned and operated by the Victory Future Tech Sole Companykidork.com is an online publication that covers a variety of general news and content. With a colorful, easy-on-the-eyes layout, the website is divided into many interesting sections and also features a video content section.

“Kid Ork” in the Lao language means “to have an idea; a solution.” It would be equivalent to someone saying “Eureka! I’ve got it.”

“The website has a lot of useful information. I especially enjoy their health and entertainment articles,” shares Noy, a local makeup artist.

8. BOL.GOV.LA

The Bank of the Lao P.D.R. (BOL, for short) is the central bank of Laos. It is also the bank of last resort, controlling the money supply, managing the country’s reserves, and supervising the commercial banks operating in Laos.

The Bank of the Lao PDR determines official exchange rates in the country, which may explain its position as 8th most visited Lao website.

9. LAOTIANTIMES.COM

The Laotian Times is a privately-held online English language news site with the mission of “making news about Laos accessible to the world.” The website is experiencing a rapidly growing readership, and has already become one of the leading online sources of English language news about Laos. A collaboration between international investors and local content partners, The Laotian Times focuses on political and economic news, and is a mix of curated and original, research-based content.

10. SOKVIEK.COM

Sokviek.com is another jobs portal that is quickly gaining popularity. The site allows employers to post jobs, and jobseekers to find work. The name sokviek is a transliteration of ຊອກວຽກ, meaning “job search.” The site is a joint venture partnership between Pakaad and TNK Media.

See coverage on the official launch of the portal here.

The Rest (11-25):

The rest of the list contains the following websites:

11. DALALAO.COM

12. LSX.COM.LA

13. LAOGOV.GOV.LA

14. LAOLOT.COM

15. MOF.GOV.LA

16. PETROTRADELAOS.COM

17. MOST.GOV.LA

18. HONGSAPOWER.COM

19. LDBLAO.LA

20. YULA.LA

21. ETLLAO.COM

22. NA.GOV.LA

23. TOJSIAB.COM

24. TARGETLAOS.COM

25. KPL.GOV.LA

 

Traffic Police Gear Up for New Year Duties

The Vientiane Traffic Police Department has rostered over 200 police for security detail over the Christmas and New Year period.

Deputy Chief of the Vientiane Traffic Police Department, Major Sangkhom Phommalath, told Vientiane Times on Wednesday that guidelines from the Ministry of Public Security require them to assign 207 police officers to various duties.

Traffic police will be stationed around the capital from December 22 to January 2 in the districts of Sikhottabong, Xaythany, Chanthabouly, Naxaithong, Sisattanak, Hadxaifong, and Xaysettha.

They will focus on roads No. 13 North and South, Thadeua Road, Kaysone Phomvihane Avenue, 450 Road, Lane Xang Avenue, Samsenthai and other main roads.

Police will direct traffic, monitor motorists’ speeds and assess their levels of sobriety along roads No. 13 North and South, and Thadeua Road. They will also be on standby to deal with any accidents.

They will also explain road safety regulations and make them known to drivers along roads and in villages and schools as well as at the southern and northern bus stations in a bid to reduce accidents and traffic congestion.

Traffic police warned that reckless driving, intoxication and general violation of the traffic rules would not be tolerated over the festive period.

Minor infractions will incur warnings but fines and other penalties will be imposed in the case of more serious offences.

Traffic police reminded members of the public to drive with caution, observe the traffic rules and show courtesy to other road users. They expressly reminded people not to drive while drunk.

The department’s records show that over the five days from December 29, 2015, to January 2, 2016, there were 33 road accidents in Vientiane in which 52 people were injured and two people died.

The main causes of accidents over the New Year were intoxication and speeding. Most accidents involved motorbikes and pickup trucks and occurred around midnight and during the early hours of the morning.

President of the Society of Volunteers Rescue Vientiane, Mr Lam Ngern Vongphachanh, said he had arranged for staff to be on duty to take emergency calls at three stations in Vientiane from December 24 to January 1.

Some 65 volunteers will be on standby to rush to the scene of an accident from stations in Hadxaifong, Xaythany and Xaysettha districts.

This year the society will join forces with rescue teams from the Chinese Foundation, Pasanchai and Phatthana Phasouk to help accident victims. When they receive a call asking them to go to the scene of an accident or other incident they will contact the team nearest to the event.

The rescue team can be reached on hotline no. 1624, which is open 24 hours a day.

 

Source: Vientiane Times