|Traffic congestion on Bach Dang Street, Binh Thanh District, HCM City. With no limits placed on private means of transport, public transportation has not developed as planned. — VNA/VNS Photo The Vinh.
HCM CITY (VNS) — Despite many efforts from HCM City authorities and the city's Transport Department, public transportation in the city, which is conducted mainly by bus, has not developed as planned.
Since early 2007, the number of passengers transported by bus has increased slightly but continues to fluctuate year by year, according to the Transport Department and the Development Research Institute, which have been carrying out a research project to improve public transport to 2025.
In 2007 and 2008, buses transported 296 million and 342.5 passengers respectively. But in 2009, the number dropped to 342 million, and in 2010, the figure went up 364.8 million. However, in 2011, it fell to 358 million, and in 2012, it was 413 million, compared to 411 million in 2013.
In 2014, experts estimate that public transportation met only 90 per cent of the plan for the year.
During the 2011-15 period, experts believe that public transportation in HCM City met less than 15 per cent of transportation demand, as defined by the city's Traffic Congestion Reduction Programme for the period.
Researchers said that in 2015, even if relevant authorities carry out improvements in the public transportation system, including upgrading the quality of buses, increasing the number of bus lanes and improving station systems, the number of passengers would reach 707 million, or only 11.5 per cent of transportation demand.
Researchers said the situation was caused by a lack of limits on private transportation means, especially motorbikes. Buses are now surrounded by motorbikes, making it hard for the buses to move and be on time.
Viet Nam still has no large public transportation systems that can handle a large number of passengers, like a bus-rapid-transit (BRT) or metro system.
It also has poor infrastructure for bus systems or public transport.
Bus management and operation systems need to be improved and public transportation needs more support policies to develop.
"For a long time, the city's Transport Department predicted this current situation would occur, and suggested many solutions to strengthen and boost public transport systems," said Le Trung Tinh, chairman of the Inter-province and Tourism Passenger Transport Association, and former head of the Transport Department's Transport Management, who was quoted in the Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon) newspaper.
The department has suggested increasing fees for private means of transport and parking fees, in addition to keeping the pavement clear and issuing more priorities for the bus system.
The department has also urged the purchase of 1,670 new buses, including 300 buses running on compressed natural gas (CNG), an environmentally-friendly gas.
But the city has only focused on upgrading buses, and the other suggestions like fee increases have yet to be implemented.
Researchers working on the transport project until 2025 have suggested limiting private transport by increasing fees for registration, circulation, tax and parking.
They have also urged the restructuring of urban space by enlarging pavements, building a proper bus station system, and developing support policies for public transport, in addition to completing the BRT and metro systems.
"How to bring these suggestions into daily life is a big question because there are too many things related to daily life, especially limiting the means of private transport," said Duong Hong Thanh, former deputy director of the city's Transport Department. — VNS