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HCM City buses losing popularity

Update: June, 29/2015 - 09:50
City buses carried more than 152 million passengers in the fist half of this year, 25 million fewer than in the same period last year, according to the Department of Transport. — Photo nld

HCM CITY (VNS) — The number of bus passengers in HCM City has declined dramatically, and service quality is mostly to blame, a meeting held in HCM City to discuss issues facing public transportation heard.

City buses carried more than 152 million passengers in the fist half of this year, 25 million fewer than in the same period last year, according to the Department of Transport.

Speaking at a meeting with the People's Council last week, Pham Dinh Duc, head of the department's Transport and Industry Management Division, said one reason for the fall in numbers has been the changes to bus routes forced by public works on many streets in the downtown area, causing difficulties for passengers.

Besides, seven routes have been cut, including three subsided ones, and bus services for 70 schools and five companies have been stopped, he said.

The city spends an average of VND1 trillion (US$47 million) a year on bus subsidies, but the service quality has not met passengers' expectations, lawmakers said.

Thefts and sexual harassment occur frequently on buses while bus drivers and conductors are often not friendly towards passengers and do not show concern for elderly and disabled passengers, they said, adding the department of Transport should address these problems.

Thousands complain

A study of 7,000 passenger complaints about bus services done by the HCM City Institute for Development Studies found 8.5 per cent related to discrimination by staff, 31.7 per cent to failure to pick up and drop off passengers at designated bus stops, 19.4 per cent to the conduct of drivers and conductors, and the rest to other things like safety, routes and timing.

Tran Tan Tuyen, deputy head of the People's Council's Economy Division, said the department should organise a seminar to assess if the subsidies are working well.

Recently the city Inspectorate decided to look into how subsidies were utilised between 2012 and 2014.

Earlier the Department of Transport's Inspectorate found many violations related to subsidies meant for student buses, most of them to do with transport co-operatives inflating student numbers to get higher subsidies.

The violations are being investigated. — VNS

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