Updated  
November, 05 2011 08:41:45

HCM City looks to boost number of bus passengers

Passengers board a bus in HCM City. Bus services must be improved and routes changed to better meet the needs of residents, said the HCM City People's Council. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Phan

Passengers board a bus in HCM City. Bus services must be improved and routes changed to better meet the needs of residents, said the HCM City People's Council. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Phan

HCM CITY — The city's Department of Transport needs to develop better measures to increase the quantity of bus passengers and improve services of buses, according to the head of the budget division of the HCM City People's Council.

Pham Van Dong, speaking at meeting in HCM City on Thursday, said bus routes should be rearranged and information on bus schedules should be made widely available to the public.

He asked the department to set up ticket-sale agents in residential areas so that people could buy monthly tickets easily.

Le Hai Phong, director of the city's Public Transport Management Centre, said the quantity of passengers using buses had risen slowly since 2006.

Old buses and poor-quality services had led to decreased ridership, according to participants at the meeting.

Other factors that contributed to a drop in riderships were the price of tickets, traffic jams and roadwork construction on city streets.

A recent survey showed that 70 per cent of passengers did not want to use buses because they ran too slowly, according to Duong Hong Thanh, deputy head of the Department of Transport.

The average speed of buses was about 12-13 km per hour. Motorbikes, however, take only 30 minutes to travel the same distance.

"With the rapid increase of individual vehicles, it is difficult to attract people to buses if there is no support from the city," said Thanh.

Thanh said his department had been implementing several measures, including improving the quality of drivers and assistant drivers, stabilising ticket prices, buying more compressed natural gas-powered buses and adding high-tech features to buses.

By the end of the year, all buses will have a global positioning system (GPS) facility.

Thanh has asked the city to implement a project to replace 1,680 buses and consider privatising the investment of CNG-powered buses.

He said the city should continue its subsidies for buses, estimated to reach VND1.7 trillion (US$80 million) next year compared to VND1.2 trillion this year.

Attendees at the meeting also supported the city People's Committee's decision to allow commercial advertisements on buses.

Bus adverts are expected to bring about VND200 billion a year, which should help reduce the city's bus subsidies.

Dong said the city People's Council would submit the requests to the city People's Committee.

The city has about 3,000 buses running on 146 routes. — VNS

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