Making news

Opening of first metro line in HCM City faces delay

The opening of the first metro line in Ho Chi Minh City, which runs between Ben Thanh Market in District 1 and Suoi Tien Theme Park in District 9, will be delayed until 2022, city authorities have said.

The HCM City Management Authority for Urban Railways (MAUR) said the Long Binh - Binh Thai elevated section in District 9 in the newly established Thu Duc City will operate for a trial period in the fourth quarter before a final test of the entire metro line is completed.

Work began last week on the power supply system for the power stations along the line, according to MAUR.

The Metro Line 1 was previously expected to open later this year, but complications due to the COVID-19 pandemic have delayed the start of commercial operations.

MAUR said it would speed up other tasks such as training and technology transfer.

As of the end of last year, about 82 percent of the work had been completed against the targeted 85 percent.

Last year, Japanese and European engineers who oversee installation of the tracks could not enter the country after international flights were suspended because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Vietnam closed its borders and suspended all international flights in March last year.

In addition, the first train carriages were scheduled to arrive in April last year, but they did not arrive until October. Shipments of other equipment from overseas were also affected, according to MAUR.

The line, the first of the city’s eight proposed routes, comprises four main packages and is funded in part through an official development assistance (ODA) loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

Since construction began in 2012, it has faced many problems, including slow disbursement of funds and a personnel crisis.

The line, with total investment of 2.05 billion USD, has 14 stations (11 elevated stations and three underground stations) through districts 1, 2, 9, Binh Thanh and Thu Duc and neighbouring Binh Duong province.

The 19.7-km metro route will have 17 Japanese-made trains with three carriages each that will run at a maximum speed of 110km per hour above ground and 80km per hour below ground.

Second metro line

For Metro Line 2, which will connect Ben Thanh Market in District 1 to Tham Luong in District 12, site clearance and relocation of technical infrastructure and bidding procedures will be completed by the end of 2021 and selection of contractors in 2022, according to MAUR.

The first phase of Metro Line 5 will include a pre-feasibility study report that will be submitted to the National Assembly for approval in the fourth quarter of 2021. Metro Line 3A will have a pre-feasibility study report completed in 2022.

Eight metro lines running a total 220 km are slated to be built.

With a population of about 13 million, HCM City has been struggling with traffic congestion for years. The number of personal vehicles has surged, with 825,000 cars and 8.12 million motorbikes, while public transport remains underdeveloped.