HCM CITY — HCM City authorities say that it may be difficult to reach the goal of 1 million bus passengers a day by 2020, the target set by the city in its master plan.
At a meeting on public transport held in the city recently, the municipal Transport Department said that the number of passengers had declined because of bus quality and poor management.
Also contributing to the drop in passengers is the higher traffic density, which has increased the length of time of certain routes, and poor service quality.
The limited area for buses at stations and the lack of a metro or bus rapid transit (BRT) system with convenient connections have also driven away passengers.
Delegates at the meeting asked the city’s Transport Department to review state subsidies for transport companies and adjust the subsidy level if needed.
The department was also encouraged to develop a policy to encourage companies to invest in new buses and rearrange taxi activities.
“Smart bus tickets and direct subsidies for students should be deployed soon,” Huỳnh Công Hùng, standing member of the city People’s Council, was quoted as saying on a Government website.
Smart bus tickets will also be used for other public transport means like the metro and BRT, and would be launched by the end of the year.
“Only 12.7 per cent of the city’s area is for bus routes and stations. That would be difficult to adjust,” Bùi Xuân Cường, director of Transport Department, said.
He also pointed out that the quality of service and management would increase if information technology was applied. But huge expenditures would be needed.
The deputy chairman of HCM City People’s Committee, Lê Văn Khoa, said the bus system must become more competitive by improving quality, encouraging more private enterprises by offering incentive policies and restructuring transport companies.
“Subsidies for the bus system are necessary because the buses play a very important role in reducing congestion. But efficiency is needed,” Nguyễn Thị Quyết Tâm, chairwoman of the municipal People’s Council, said.
“If we have good policies and create profits, private investors will help solve our challenges in reaching the goal of 1 million passengers a day by 2020,” she added. — VNS