Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI – Coach operators have been left in the lurch after the closure of Lương Yên Station was announced by Hà Nội’s Transport Department.
The department is seeking opinions from transport departments in other cities and the Transport Ministry for the plans to close Lương Yên Station, one of the city’s biggest stations, by July 2016.
The station, which has been in operation since 2004, now deals with about 335 coaches daily. The site has deteriorated quickly and the overcrowding at the station has begun to cause traffic congestion in nearby streets.
In 2010, Vinafood Corporation proposed to cut the area of the station in half to carry out the first phase of its real estate project. About VNĐ10 billion (US$445,900) was spent on reorganising the site to create a smaller bus station. In 2012, the corporation proposed closing the station completely even though they hadn’t began the first phase of the project.
The proposal was denied and Lương Yên Station was allowed to continue operating until July 2016 after protests from the Hà Nội Transport Association and other firms. Many coach operators in the city expressed concerns that they may be forced into bankruptcy if the station closes.
Hà Nội Department of Transport subsequently proposed two options for the closure of Lương Yên Station. The first option was the relocation of all coaches operating in Lương Yên Station to other stations. The department would work with owners of other bus stations and provincial authorities to rearrange some routes in this case.
The second option would be to move all buses from Lương Yen to Cổ Bi Bus Station, which is currently under construction in Gia Lâm District.
However, deputy director of Hoàng Long Transport Limited Company Vũ Đức Hoàng said that they did not receive any formal announcement or warning from the station operator about the station’s closure.
The company has up to 70 coaches departing or arriving at the Lương Yên Station each day, of which, 40 coaches run the route from Hà Nội to Hải Phòng.
“According to regulations by the Transport Ministry, transport firms must be informed about changes such as station closure at least 24 months in advance,” he said.
“Changes at short notice would make us unable to manage, particularly for small-sized firms,” he said.
Lưu Huy Hà, director of Hoàng Hà Limited Company in northern Thái Bình Province, said the closure would affect their business and the travel of people who regularly use Lương Yên Station.
Hà said that they need a roadmap and a reasonable timescale to adjust their business plan and make announcements to commuters so that they could start planning alternative routes.
Chairman of Hà Nội Transport Association Bùi Danh Liên told Giao thông (Transport) newspaper that if the first option was approved, meaning coaches would divert to other stations instead of Lương Yên Station, routes would need to be reorganised to avoid overlapping and affecting coaches that run on fixed stable routes.
“Otherwise, coaches would still run via Lương Yên Station site to pick up passengers illegally,” Liên said.
The Lương Yên Station, on a site of 10,200 sq.m, currently services 38 routes to 20 provinces and cities with 319 vehicles from 52 transportation firms. But the site is notoriously dirty and passenger services are poor, while parking for taxis and other vehicles remains limited. -- VNS