|VNA/VNS Photo Hoang Hai
HCM CITY (VNS)— Unlicensed coaches can be seen cruising the streets and flouting all rules as the demand for commuting options increases over the holiday season.
These buses have been operating in Ha Noi and HCM City, spurred by the growing need for travel options during the period leading up to Tet (Lunar New Year).
In HCM City, illegal ticket selling points have been spotted on many streets such as Vo Thanh Trang, Hong Lac, and Dong Den.
Some coach owners run promotional programmes to attract more passengers. For example, a travel enterprise in the corner of Dong Den Street offers customers a chance to win valuable prizes such as motorbikes and television sets.
These unlicensed coaches can be found in other areas such as Le Hong Phong and Tran Phu streets in District 10 and Pham Ngu Lao Street in District 1. These buses offer trips to the Central region.
The problem is not a new one, as these buses are reported to have existed for years, disguised as tourist vehicles. There are even cases where coach owners hire land to build bus stops where they drop off passengers and sell tickets illegally.
Illegal bus stops are also causing a major problem in Ha Noi. One of them is in Yen Phu Street where a number of 16-seat passenger buses travelling along the Ha Noi route to the northern provinces of Bac Ninh, Bac Giang and Lang Son regularly stop to pick up or drop off passengers.
Unregistered bus stops can also be found at Ha Noi in places such as Gia Lam, Giap Bat, and Nuoc Ngam. Illegal passenger coaches often operate during rush hour at the intersection of Giai Phong Street and in front of the My Dinh and Gia Lam bus stations.
Several unregistered buses travel from and to Giap Bat bus station in Hoang Mai District every hour. These buses park on the side of the road to pick up passengers,causing serious traffic congestion in several areas.
Several transport service companies operating in Ho Chi Minh City have taken advantage of the rise in the need for travel during Tet by raising the price of coach fares.
For instance, the cost of a bunk on coaches to central Thua Thien-Hue Province has risen to VND1.2 million (US$57), and a seat to central Quang Ngai Province on the 27th and 28th days of the Lunar Calendar (January 27 and 28 this year) has gone up to VND750,000 ($36).
The prices announced by official bus stops range from VND300,000 to 500,000 ($14-24).
According to State regulations, travel businesses are not allowed to raise fares on coaches by more than 60 per cent for departures on January 24 and the days that follow.
Statistical data from HCM City's Department of Transport shows that over 100 travel service enterprises are plying illegally in the city.
"The city wants the department to crack down on illegal passenger coaches and bus stops. The police force will be working all day at bus stations such as Mien Dong, Mien Tay, An Suong, and Nga Tu Ga during peak hours to deal with the problem of unregistered coaches and bus stops," said Deputy Head of HCM City's Traffic Safety Board Nguyen Ngoc Tuong.
Ha Noi police are also tightening the inspection of traffic violations to ensure passenger safety during the Tet festival by focusing on the prevention of illegal buses and stops.
A large police force from all districts in the city will be on guard on roads and near bus stops to curtail the business of unregistered passenger coaches. — VNS