Many areas in the Long Bien Bridge are being occupied by street vendors who overcharge travellers for snacks.
Long Bien Bridge was built from 1899 to 1902 and is a symbol of Hanoi. It consists of a railway and two roads on either side. But those roads are being illegally occupied by street vendors who sell tea and some snacks. They lay out a mat and waited for customers from 7 pm to 12 am.
According to the locals, the street vendors have encroached Long Bien Bridge for years and those areas were busiest during the summer. The mats and the motorbikes of customers block the road night after night without any interference from the authorities.
The vendors mostly target students and travellers from other provinces. The prices are set unreasonably high, with a dish of fruits costing VND100,000 (USD4), a cup of ice tea VND50,000, VND30,000 for grilled corn and VND70,000 for 45 minutes sitting on the mats.
Arguing customers will be threatened with violence. Drivers who park along the bridge are invited to have a drink or chased away.
A seller said there were only four to five street vendors left along Long Bien Bridge. “There used to be many street vendors but only a few who have responsibilities are now left.”
Tam, a regular in the area said almost every traveller who had decided to stop for a drink for the first time became the victims. He said, “They will spot your plate numbers first. If you’re from Hanoi then the prices will be lower but you should always ask about the prices first and tell them to give you a chair instead of sitting on the mats.”
When being asked about the lack of authorities presence on Long Bien Bridge, Nguyen Manh Ha, vice head of Long Bien Police Department said, “We’ve received the information and will investigate.”