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VietNamNews

Urban transport lacks unified planning

Update: November, 21/2012 - 10:29

HA NOI (VNS)— Warnings that an unco-ordinated public transport system for the capital city could be chaotic were issued at a seminar on Monday on the operation of the capital city's five metro rail lines.

Speaking at the seminar titled Management and Operation of Ha Noi's Urban Mass Transit System, director of the city's Urban Railway Management Board, Nguyen Quang Manh, said the metro would be the main axis for the capital's public transport system.

However, he said the new system would not work if metro lines were not knitted into a tight network, which must also include other means of public transport, such as buses and taxis.

Manh added that there were already signs that there would be more difficulties than necessary. This was because at least five different consultants had been appointed to carry out the five individual metro line projects.

Manh said that this would eventually lead to different proposals for ticketing technology, emphasising that the way to prevent chaos was to seek one single technology to apply to all lines.

Manh said that while targeting an integrated public transport network, the city had not yet decided to have one centre managing all public passenger transport. It was possible that the system could be split into two, one managing the bus system and the other managing the metro.

The seminar involved Ha Noi People's Committee and the French Development Agency, the main lender for the first of the five underground and overground railways lines that will form Ha Noi's urban metro line system by 2020.

Work on this line, running from Nhon in the suburban district of Tu Liem to Kim Ma Street in Cau Giay District, began in 2010. It is expected to be finished by 2015. The whole five lines making up the project are scheduled to be completed by 2020.

Other experts at the seminar agreed that the total integration of different components of the capital's transport system was crucial to an effective and smooth-running system.

Julien Allaire, technical director of the French-run Co-operation for Urban Mobility in the Developing World, said it was necessary to have a powerful, single transport office with strong financial capacity co-ordinating both buses and metro systems.

"If they compete against each other, none of them will benefit," he said, noting the problems that would develop if metro lines and bus lines starting fighting for passengers.

Many cities around the world had applied integrated public transport and Ha Noi should follow, he said, "If not, service users will suffer disadvantages and inconvenience."

Ve'ronique Hamayon, secretary general of Paris' public transport authority, said modern urban transport systems relied on co-ordinating prices, ticketing and time-tables between rail and bus services.

Moreover, she said that in major cities around the world, this information was also posted on the internet so that users could navigate their way around cities more easily.

She also said that an integrated system had enabled public-transport operators to offer discount tickets to the aged, pensioners, the disadvantaged and students. Special discounts could also be offered at weekends and at other special times to encourage people to travel.

Hamayon said there was also a need to issue a single card that allowed people to use buses and metros with ease.

"By using the same ticketing system, operators reduce costs and the public transport authority saves management costs, thus increasing investment efficiency," she said. — VNS

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