Making news

HCM City to invest in public transport in new residential areas

Ho Chi Minh City's Department of Transport has asked the municipal People’s Committee to outline plans for investment in public transport in new residential areas, including new bus lanes, in an aim to reduce traffic congestion.

Experts said the city should develop a roadmap to restrict the use of personal vehicles and speed up progress of metro lines, BRT (bus rapid transit) Line No. 1, and others.

The city said it would give guidance to district authorities to speed up the clearance progress for bus station projects.

In addition, the city will issue policies to attract private investment in transport infrastructure and improve the subsidy method to ensure effective bus operation.

The city will also reserve land fund for transport projects under public-private partnerships (PPP), and ensure convenient design and access for people who use buses.

Tran Chi Trung, Director of the city’s Public Transport Management Centre, said the bus network would be adjusted to suit the travel needs of the public, and buses would have connections in new residential areas, schools, commercial centres, export processing zones and industrial parks.

The city will also strictly deal with people who occupy pavements.

The city plans to apply technology to public transport systems, including cards for payments. The Public Transport Management Centre has worked with the Zion JSC and Vietnam Thuong Tin Commercial Joint Stock Bank to issue cards to pay for all types of public passenger transport instead of cash.

Recently, the City Urban Transport Advisory Council has agreed to set up lanes exclusively for bus operation on Vo Thi Sau and Dien Bien Phu streets in District 3.

The HCM City Public Transport Management Centre will continue to receive opinions from experts to complete the project and submit it to relevant authorities for permission for implementation.

Under the project, two bus lanes will be reserved for buses during morning and afternoon peak hours. Personal vehicles and motorbikes will not be allowed during these periods.

Le Trung Tinh, Chairman of the HCM City Intercity Passenger Transport and Tourism Association, said that in 2003, a dedicated bus lane in District 5 was successful. The project, which was a joint effort between Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Department of Transport, had to be suspended when drainage systems were being implemented.

Recently, the Department of Transport said it would open public bidding for bus routes this year following regulations in a decree which assigns tasks, orders and bids on public products and services using State funds. The decree took effect on June 1 last year.

HCM City has bus routes operated by 12 different companies. Of the number, 99 routes are subsidised by the State.

The city has spent around 1 trillion VND (43 million USD) on annual subsidies for buses since 2012. However, the number of passengers has fallen significantly, from 302 million in 2012 to 194 million in 2018.

The number of passengers in the first nine months of 2019 saw a decrease of 13.2 percent compared to the same period in 2018.