HCM CITY — Many of the existing buses in HCM City have yet to be replaced by more environmentally friendly buses as agencies have been slow to contribute suggestions required by city authorities.
According to the HCM City Department of Transport, the project to buy 1,680 new buses, including 300 that use compressed natural gas (CNG), was submitted to the People's Committee two years ago.
Under the proposal, passenger transport companies would have to pay up front in cash 30 per cent of the value of each new bus. The remaining would be paid with bank loans taken out by these firms. Total investment was expected to be VND2 trillion (US$96 million).
The State budget would pay some of the interest on the seven-year bank loans, estimated at VND700 billion.
As part of the project, in early July, 25 buses that meet Euro 3 emission standards were put into operation in HCM City to replace old ones that are polluting the city's environment.
These 60-seat new buses running on bus route No. 122 from An Suong Bus Station in District 12 to Tan Quy in Cu Chi District have been locally manufactured with a total investment of around VND42.5 billion.
Nguyen Van Toi, deputy head of the May 19 Co op., operator of bus route No. 122, said that his cooperative wanted to replace old buses to help protect the environment.
However, he insisted on loan-interest support from the State.
According to Duong Hong Thanh, deputy director of the HCM City Department of Transport, bus route No. 122 is the first to use Euro-3-standard buses in HCM City.
Under the scheme to buy the new buses, the department has also focused on acquiring new vehicles meeting Euro 3 standards.
Currently, most buses in HCM City fail to meet Euro 2 emission standards.
The city still has up to 527 12-seat buses not meeting transport conditions regulated by the Government.
The project to replace polluting buses was mapped out by the department after it conducted an inspection in July 2010, revealing that 20-30 per cent of HCM City's bus fleet had exhaustion emissions exceeding permitted levels. — VNS