Making news

HCM City offers free smart bus cards for elderly

Ho Chi Minh City has presented nearly 100 free smart bus cards for people aged 70 or over, and social policy beneficiaries, including wounded and sick soldiers.

On September 18, the city’s Public Transport Management Centre offered free bus cards to the elderly and other priority populations in Thu Duc city.

The city’s smart ticket system, named UniPass, started its trial phase in 2019, carried out by the centre, Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade (VietinBank) and Zion JSC.

It allows bus passengers to pay for their ride in two methods, either swiping their near-field communication (NFC) cards on the bus to transfer money from their UniPass account or using their smartphones to scan a QR code that provides them with payment details.

Ha Le An, deputy director of the centre, said this offer aimed to attract more users to public transport, reduce congestion and traffic accidents, and protect the environment.

Elderly who have not yet registered to receive a free bus card could show their ID card for free travel on any public bus, he said.

Doan Van Quy, 79, who was given free bus cards, said it was not convenient for the elderly like him to travel by private vehicles, with traffic jams at peak hours.

Therefore, the policy of offering free bus cards for the elderly was reasonable, encouraging people to use public transport in the city, he said.

Nguyen Van Hung, 74, said he was very happy to get a free bus card because he often rides public buses.

“The bus staff is quite friendly and they always serve me like those who have to pay for bus tickets,” he said.

Dao Van Huong, 70, who regularly travels on bus route No. 141, said she agreed with the policy of offering free bus travel to older people.

“It is really good for us, especially people in difficult circumstances,” she said.

An said the centre would continue to implement many policies and plans to attract people to use public buses.

The centre would promote the application of technology to better serve passengers, including the Go! Bus app for mobile devices.

The app would help people easily find the nearest bus stop, update information on bus routes and bus arrival times, saving time and money, he said./.