Last week, Việt Nam News asked its readers about Hà Nội’s first bus rapid transit (BRT) system, which will be ready by the end of this month. Here are some of the comments.
Aravind Chinta, French, Hà Nội
As far as I’m concerned, the efficiency of this measure will depend of the behaviour of people driving cars and bikes.
I would think that this system could be very efficient in the case that motorbikers and car owners change their habits and use these bus lines more. Everybody would be satisfied: fewer traffic jams, less pollution and faster travel in these bus lines.
On the other hand, if motorbikers and car drivers don’t take this bus system - and if they are pushed away from where BRT lanes are - that will create huge traffic jams in many busy areas of Hà Nội. Especially, bikes would drive on the pavement. That could be dangerous for bikers and even pedestrians in some narrow places where it is difficult to walk.
The important thing to me is that this bus system has to attract people that usually take cars or motorbikes.
I will certainly try this bus system to move around Hà Nội. I hope car drivers and bikers will go for this bus system, and I really expect that this new bus system would make it possible to question the way we move in big cities - which is also a big cause of pollution.
To me, another huge step would be green energy for public transportation or driving restrictions according to cars’s licence number, not just in some streets but in the whole city.
Li Tao, Chinese, Hà Nội
I’m living near the BRT stations, so I’m quite interested in these new vehicles in Hà Nội. I think that the BRT is not possible with the present traffic conditions in the capital. Infrastructure is so bad, the number of vehicles are too great and residents’awareness is not good.
Every day when the BRT is not in operation, the roads nearby my houses are always hit by traffic jams. And now the roads must reserve a separated area for BRT, how serious the traffic jams will be?
Besides, Hà Nội will ban several vehicles such as taxi and motorbikes in several roads. The new regulation will create dissatisfaction for residents’ travelling in the area.
I encourage the city authorities’ measures to reduce traffic jams, but I think that managers should consider more suitable measures for the real conditions in Việt Nam and Hà Nội, instead of automatically applying measures from foreign countries.
I myself will not try BRT, as I think that it will not be much faster than normal bus.
Andrew Burden, Canadian, Hà Nội
I ride my motorbike in Hà Nội on the left, shadowing cars. I pass on the left because people throw garbage into the right gutter. Schools have dozens of parents waiting on the road. Slow bicycles compete with tourist cyclos. Cars park there. Buses pull over and stop.
A bus lane sounds great. Why is it over budget and taking so long to build? In addition, I’ve found buses here to be packed, hot and without avaliable seats.
There are many options to improve traffic flow. Why doesn’t each kid ride a bike to school? Zero air pollution, zero noise pollution, free muscle power and no dozens of parents wasting time and space on the street to drive them home.
How about four people in each car instead of one rich guy? If you can fit three-four-five people (and a ladder) on a motorbike, then there should be 12-15 people in a car! So in conclusion, we don’t even need buses, nevermind reserved bus lanes.
Nguyễn Văn Hùng, Vietnamese, Hà Nội
The BRT system has several shortcomings. For instance, older people and pregnant women must cross a road to reach the BRT station, and it is very dangerous and carries a risk of traffic accidents. Besides, the system passes roads which are hot spots of traffic jams such as Tố Hữu, Lê Văn Lương and Láng Hạ. If the BRT system is operated there, the traffic jams will be more serious. One more problem is that the roads in Hà Nội are narrow, and the BRT will run at high speeds creating high risk of accidents.
The private lane for BRT will be separated with other vehicles by a lime line on roads, and I’m sure that when traffic jams happen, other vehicles will encroach the part to go and as the results, the traffic will be more chaotic.
Developing BRT system is a good idea, but it should be operated as a trial programme to find out the most suitable way for Hà Nội. Managers should collect ideas from experts, scientists and residents before opening the system for wide use. — VNS